13/09/2019

Where is God in all this Bullshit?

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:29 pm by The Water Bearer

We’ve all heard the argument that “If God is real, He must be a douche to allow all the horrors of this world to happen.”

This is such a cliched and somewhat ignorant stance… because WE chose thisus humans.

We were warned this would happen, patiently pleaded with to avoid it.

But…

We decided we don’t need to have a relationship with God. We decided not to heed His warnings. We decided not to participate in His agreement. We devalued His promises to bless and protect us, because instead we used our free will to choose to decide right and wrong for ourselves, whatever suits us. And really who can blame us, if institutional religion is our alternative! Sadly, the damage done throughout history in God’s name has warped our understanding of God and many have completely rejected the principles of scripture, and decided we are better off deciding right from wrong for ourselves. We’ve used this freedom to Judge God… How self-righteous we are! In the process we have created a busy indulgent world and cut ourselves off from the still small voice of God within. This is what Eve fell for in the garden, when she was told “the instant you eat it you will become like God, for your eyes will be opened—you will be able to distinguish good from evil.”

The enemy is a dead-set Liar! Of course we aren’t simply able to distinguish good from evil, not perfectly, not without total self-awareness first! (and that is one hell of an undertaking!)

To those who use the argument that God allows dysfunction to happen, I’ll ask; When the offer comes to choose for yourself what is right or wrong, do you take it, or deny yourself and trust God?

Eve didn’t deny herself or trust God. Only a handful truly have. Those who have denied themselves and trusted God, steered western culture towards freedom and unity, towards blessing and healing, prosperity and protection, but many many more have not…

And here we are…

Its an unimaginably hard thing to trust God, because its not until we test Him that we learn of His trustworthiness. In order to test God, we must play our part, and that means denying ourselves.

OUCH right!

Think of it this way…

As a wellness instructor, I see people everyday who are battling one health concern or another. And its easy to become bitter and blame God for dropping us into these defective bodies. In today’s day and age, we have so much information and awareness about how to look after our bodies, and yet we continue in our unhealthy habits. We refuse to deny ourselves the ease, indulgence and comfort we’ve convinced ourselves we deserve. How can we blame anyone but ourselves when we experience preventable health issues?

We are living longer than ever in human history and yet are riddled with chronic disease (many of which are preventable), we would rather live forever and shake our fist at the sky when we suffer, than accept death as part of the human condition and TRUST GOD with our eternity. So we resisted and chose a different reality than the one God wanted to bless us with, and again here we are.

Its the same as with our faith, if we spend our days ignoring our prayer life, ignoring the scriptures, ignoring the still small voice of God within us, and avoiding giving thanks for all that we DO HAVE, How can we expect God to keep up to His end of the agreement? How can we blame God for the dysfunction we asked for, by thinking we can do a better job of deciding right from wrong than Him? How can we expect God to swoop in and fix everything for us, when we chose to go down the road that takes us as far from Him as possible?

Seems pretty simple to me, but what would I know, I’m only human.. I could be wrong, and so could you? And that’s precisely why we need God.

As believers it is up to us refresh the faith of this world. No more gimmicks, No more manipulation, No more threats of a future HELL! Use the hell we experience right now as evidence that we need to change our ways. Those of us who are genuine in our faith walk will have plenty of actual lived experience and testimony of how AWESOME God is, without having to bully people. They don’t fall for the fear tactics of the media. They walk in faith between the blessings and the curses. Remember, it makes no difference what the state of the world appears to be, because God is still faithful to His word even when we aren’t and we know who wins in the end. Yeeeew!

06/08/2019

To KNOW Who You Are

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:41 am by The Water Bearer

If I had a dollar for every time in my life when I hid my own truth, and willingly swallowed someone else’s opinion, I would be a very rich woman. Far too often, a people pleaser will stay quiet when someone needs to speak up for the truth, and a people pleaser does this because they have no idea who they really are.

It was a couple of decades ago when I first realised my people pleasing tendencies and began to question the costs of going with the flow, I started speaking up, I stopped always following the advice of others, and began to stop believing every judgmental opinion cast upon me. Sure, I’ve come a long way, but realistically, I still catch myself giving a few pieces of mental real estate to those who have proven they don’t know me, nor have my back.

That is something I still find disturbing.

Iron sharpens iron, and I want to be sharp! I am not so deceived to believe that I am incapable of being wrong, I am well aware of the sinful nature that tries to trick me into defending it when it rises up and undermines my character, as I am sure many of you will nod in agreement. Most often, the negative opinions aim to undermine my faith and my message, or to accuse my heart of arrogance & self-righteousness.

So I go away and pray “Lord, I know I am capable of being arrogant, just spend 5 minutes with my ego! I know I am capable of being self-righteous, just spend 5 minutes watching adverts for reality TV with me to witness the judgmental comments fly! Lord, I know I am capable of doubt, in those moments when my faith is shaken. Yet in each situation, when I have spoken boldly of your truth, and the wonders you have led me through, and shared the wisdom you have graciously shared with me, read my heart Lord and show me my sin.”

Then I can trust His mercy and conviction to tenderly handle my short-comings, and reveal to me where HE wants me to improve. And the added bonus is He can create situations that actually bring about the changes He wants!

I’ve always tried to give value to each persons voice, because I value their soul and perspective, and don’t want to be blind-sided by my own ignorance, but there is a line that must be drawn in order for me to step even more boldly into my purpose. And that is to still value the soul of each human being, but not simply see myself through their eyes, nor change my truth to suit their narrative. It is far too toxic, especially looking through the eyes of those who aren’t even aware of their own arrogance, their own ignorance, their own doubts, or their own self-righteousness.

They don’t know themselves, so how can they know me & how can they know you?

There is only ONE who knows our hearts, even better than we know ourselves… and He is the ONLY one we can depend on when it comes to knowing who we are. The scriptures have the perfect precision of discerning the intentions of our hearts and revealing to us where we’re being led astray by our nature, or our ego, or the enemy.

Men and women of Remnant Faith have been called to speak boldly, especially in times when its not popular or convenient. And be assured if we do this, we will be persecuted for it, just as our Lord Himself was. It is the voices that make us doubt who we are that prevent us fulfilling this calling.

So here is a reminder to focus on who God knows me to be… (Feel free to apply it to yourself too!)

I am His!

Whoever the world thinks I am is none of my concern if I know who I am!

17/06/2019

Catching Zzzz’s & Escape plans

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by The Water Bearer

Loud snores rattle out across the room, as the group lay on their Pilates mats in astronaut’s rest pose, trying to stay focused on the guided relaxation portion of the class.

This is a common occupational hazard if you’re a meditation instructor.

Its hard for clients to direct their attention to the “sounds around them” without bursting into laughter at the chainsaw buzzing from someone’s nasal cavity. :o)

I’ve been told that having the ability to put someone to sleep (especially at their first class) is a unique gift I have. I must admit, it is sweet that they are so comfortable in my class that sleep is easy to find.

However, jokes aside, there is something about it that highlights the necessity for increased mindfulness practice in today’s world.

While I’m flattered that some find my voice and relaxation techniques so relaxing that they drift off to slumber, this is not exactly what Sanctuary Stretch is aiming for. If we are on auto-pilot hour after hour and mind-wandering is our mind’s default setting, then trying to slow thoughts and focus them is extremely difficult at first. The mind simply looks for an escape, because focused attention for that long at that slow pace is like lifting weights for our concentration. Falling asleep is a common and initial phase when practicing mindfulness meditation, but its not helpful if we are still falling asleep regularly after a few months of practice.

Many of my clients come to Sanctuary Stretch to help with mental health struggles, as well as seeking flexibility and physical wellbeing. When reality is a place of emotional upheaval, or fear, or pain, or lack of hope, its common for a client to be searching for an ESCAPE.

Peace is certainly a state we are aiming for, however escaping reality to find peace is not a healthy long-term solution. I try to encourage my clients to practice staying awake, staying with me, and watching out for the mind’s escape plans.

You may be asking.. “What’s so wrong with falling asleep during meditation?” (Aside from the obvious snoring that is!)

One of the reasons I believe in the practice of Sanctuary Stretch so deeply, is because it is a carefully considered strategy to combat the struggles of life. That’s right I said combat! Because Combat reminds us of what’s at stake.

I understand the desire to want to escape, to wish you could give up, to feel the pressure is just too much sometimes, I honestly do, just read this post to see for yourself. But I know you are capable of much more than you give yourself credit for, and there are resources that can fill up your arsenal so that rather than looking for an escape, you are more likely to step forward to the front line of the war for your soul and feel competent because you have on your armour, you have your weapons, and your know how to use them.

Its pretty clear to me, that having the confidence to face life’s trials is far more realistic and beneficial than trying to avoid them. Our Inner Enemies of doubt and fear are hell-bent on depleting our confidence and faith, they want us to feel helpless in the face of struggles and trauma. But let’s not fall for the lie that Life is meant to be easy! Its not! Falling for this lie only leads to self-limiting beliefs and bitterness. The friction and contention we come up against in life has a very specific purpose – To prepare us, to mature us, to show us what we are capable of, and to help us reach our highest potential.

Without these things we become atrophic, useless, and defeated, when we didn’t even accept or realise that we are in a war.

So next time you practice mindfulness meditation, catch yourself before your mind escapes, and use your intention to strengthen the muscles of the mind, to get familiar and skillful at wielding the weapons of faith and self-awareness so that you may claim your victory, rather than your retreat!

12/05/2019

Is there a Quick Fix for Evil?

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:55 am by The Water Bearer

I was recently invited to a healing and deliverance evening, a dear friend of mine asked me to go with him to give some spiritual discernment. The reason for his interest was curious and open as his faith has begun to blossom in the past few years, plus he was invited by someone we have known for decades. Still, as with all things ‘religious’ we can’t go in with blind faith, except blind faith in God, specifically the God we have a personal daily relationship with.

I appreciate that the people who ran this event, and the guy who invited us along, had good and perhaps even the best of intentions. They believe in the healing blood of Christ and had quite a bit to say on their experience with deliverance from demonic possession, and healing. I’ve seen events like this before, when I was very young. However, they seem archaic and unsophisticated to me these days.

Picture grown men standing in front of a group of seemingly sane and healthy people, (no one was deaf or lame or having fits of demonic insanity) they stood calling out to a whole host of specific evil spirits such as witchcraft, false tongues, Jezebel, psychology and unforgiveness, etc and requesting the demons ‘manifest’ before them as they claim to burn them with the fire of the anointing which the ‘Holy spirit’ had apparently filled the room with. This ‘calling out’ type performance went on for more than an hour, while everyone in attendance was asked to stay in prayer and connect to what they want to change in their life. I was disturbed initially, because while I consider myself someone who prays almost consistently throughout each day, focused prayer for that long was like running a marathon. I was equally disturbing being encouraged to empower my own will instead of submission in prayer.

There are a number of other reasons, besides the common ‘this is bullshit’ assumption, as to why I came away feeling disturbed. Let me be clear when I say that I’m not a sceptic, I’m emphatically discerning, and casting out demons is no game, it is something I have had some personal experience with, but I struggle to find authenticity in these dramatic performance type scenarios. I wasn’t around in Jesus’s day, and I’ve never witnessed (with my own eyes) any instant healings personally. The only way I’ve witnessed a soul tie be broken and someone finally purge an entity that has held them captive, is with love. Pure, close, personal, challenging, faithful, patient love. Love that endures, loves that hopes, love that never fails. Ok, yes fervent Prayer and Love. And the times I’ve experienced miraculous healing has been in God’s perfect timing, as my faith grew, and not much to do with who prayed for me.

True, Powerful, Godly Love holds no account of wrongs and yet these guys were intent on making anyone in the room who experiences, for example unforgiveness, feel possessed, and then offered a false hope to relieve the victim of these ‘evil spirits’. Again, I’m not a sceptic, I’m emphatically discerning. I’m not denying the awesome power of the blood of Christ, I have seen for myself how powerful it is. Nor am I dismissing the toxic effect unforgiveness, among other disorders, can have on our health and our hearts. However, aside from the Lord’s return, there is no end to evil, no quick fix, no one time cure all for the evil within us. As I’ve touched on before, the Cross and achieving the Born Again condition are continuously increasing processes of development. I love how Steve Furtick says it something like this… “Salvation is immediate, but sanctification requires a process! Forgiveness is instant once you recognise the truth of Christ on the cross, but freedom happens little by little!”

It is how we endure with faith and confession in the face of our sinful human nature that keeps us hungering and thirsting for righteousness, it keeps us humbly at the foot of the cross. The love found there has the power to help us overcome the things which seek to enslave us, such as sexual depravity, addiction, gossip, and so on however there will always be deeper evil in us, such as selfishness, bitterness, pride, fear, greed, envy, stubbornness etc. When they hint that simply ‘calling out’ a demon allows the victim to be ‘free’, it suggests that there is only a certain number of demons in someone and once they have been ‘cast out’ then there are no more demons! I have strong inclination that this is a lie from the pit of hell!

Its a false hope to claim that there is an end to the demons within us, for as long as we have breath we have sin, the blood of Christ has paid for and removed the death penalty of sin, but to be free from captivity of sin is a very specific heart condition, until then we are still in the process of purging our inner enemies! Even afterwards, we aren’t sin-free because we intercede for others, we experience sin, even if its not coming from within our own hearts. This deliverance performance is the exact type of thinking that has led many so-called ‘Christians’ into comparing sins between each other, creating a hierarchy of dominant believers who falsely judge the hearts of others. It makes my blood boil, for ALL have fallen short of the glory of God, and continue to do so as long we live! This is why we need a saviour daily! Why we need to take up our cross daily!

Even the apostle Paul, prayed for God to remove his tormenting demon, his ‘thorn in the flesh’, but God showed Paul how that demonic weakness was the very opportunity to perfect God’s power!

“So to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

This blog has been dedicated for 7 years to exposing the enemy in his true form, within us! If you want to understand how these systems work and find your own personal deliverance, then search through the archives of this blog until your heart is content. Self-awareness and a personal relationship with God are the most vital sanctifying aspects of any faith walk, we battle the enemy as long as we are in the flesh, for the purpose of revealing God’s power in our lives so that we may have unwavering faith during these end days. Let’s not skip over that process looking for a “quick fix”. Let’s trust that God knows how to handle these beasts within and is willing to guide and teach us if we turn our ear to His voice and are willing to obey, even if we suffer for it. Let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking we have a better way to heaven than His way.

Remember, we know who wins in the end, until then we keep on taking up whichever cross the Lord has deemed us able to carry. We do it willingly. We do it trustingly. Allowing God to use our circumstances to purge the soul ties from our lives, bearing with one another and trusting the Lord with our own personal thorns in the flesh. Allowing His light to shine brightest in our weakness, so that He may receive all glory, and not us or our deliverance ministers.

02/01/2019

Setting Intentions for 2019

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:28 am by The Water Bearer

How do you approach a New Year?

It feels so shiny and fresh, doesn’t it! A clean slate to paint a new masterpiece.

I’m not a fan of making new year’s resolutions, I kind of see them like I see marriage ceremonies in the modern world, a “promise” that can easily be broken. There is something powerful about our words, our vows, and when they become watered down and meaningless a little piece of that power dies. As I look about the world I see a lot of dying power and meaningless promises. So, instead of making another promise that I may break, I start my new year by setting intentions.

An intention is something you come back to over and over, so that if you drift off track, or ‘fail to stay true’ there is no loss of power, just a little refocus back to your intention and away you go again.

Before I share my intentions for 2019, a little backstory…

The past 4 years have exploded for me in my calling and gifts. Something about my time in Africa opened up my faith to levels that I felt even my biggest most unfathomable dreams were somehow possible. So, I took some time out from writing my novel (a promise I made to God 20 years ago), and began the task to create and open Sanctuary Stretch. Since then I have been overwhelmed with an abundance of ideas of how I can build this ministry/business, which has kept my focus from returning completely back to my promised novel.

By the last half of 2018 I was at the end of my tether. I had created this amazing program and was running a few classes and workshops, and yet I felt defeated. By having so much inspiration, and starting a dozen new mini-projects, none of which came to completion, I was just so sick of wasting precious time. God was showing me in every direction that time was fleeting and the final round was upon us and yet I felt if I held onto these alluring mini-goals I could still reach the finish line before time runs out.

So as this new year dawned, I didn’t want to drag the frustration of last year into this shiny new year. I decided to take some time on my favourite beach to reflect on the past year, pray, quieten the noise of my mind and the world, and listen for what God was trying to tell me.

The intentions that came out of that time on the beach were 3 fold:

  1. To deny my own will and give God the floor to bring His Will into fruition (or in other words, to see the eternal rewards, rather than looking for mini ‘worldly’ rewards).
  2. To spend more time practicing what God has taught me, instead of always trying to teach it to others (especially those who may not have asked for it).
  3. To be more relaxed with myself and my family over our mistakes and missteps. (I am hyper-responsible sometimes and need to practice more tolerance and learn to laugh at myself more).

I took some time to journal out these intentions, and as a way to ensure I had denied my own will, I sat at God’s feet and cast lots, (this is a great way to discover how God wants to proceed) I held up every one of my projects and asked which ones I was meant to push forward with, which to throw out and which to put aside for the time being.

Some were a deadest NO, others were WAIT, but wouldn’t you know it.. I got the go ahead on only one project.

The Novel.

I’m so grateful that God prompted me to wake up and smell the urgency of keeping my promise. Now I can enter 2019 with my intentions set and one goal to focus on, turning the 55,107 word, 89 page document into a fully-fledged book. Wow that’s scary to say out loud!!

ARGH! I’m going to need so much help!

Good job “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13)

Mini goals are so much easier, tempting us with small rewards, and yet the big stuff, the stuff that requires a heap more faith, that is where the real and lasting rewards lie.

What are your intentions for this blank canvas, 2019? Are you sick of wasting precious time as well and ready to keep that big promise?

 

07/12/2018

2018! What was that?

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:55 am by The Water Bearer

I was hesitant to publish this post, because it exposes my more controversial insights. However, I am too excited not to record this for future reflection! I know I’m not alone when I say that 2018 was one epic, hectic, uncharted, warp-speed, challenging and astounding year! I’m unsure how many people out there notice spiritual patterns… But I for one see them everywhere, and 2018 was riddled with a few very specific sequences.

What on earth am I talking about? Well let me explain….

The first and most obvious was the fluctuation in time. Each year we all hear the cliché, “Time gets faster every year” But this year was significantly faster than most, because it was jam packed with developments in the spiritual calendar. I doubt we could maintain this speed for long without going insane, so I for one am interested to see exactly what the time fluctuations will be in 2019.

In 2018 I noticed some huge life-altering changes, as well as some pretty intense attacks, plus the purging of some life-long strong holds, there were huge revelations and breakthroughs, and last but definitely not least I noticed evidence of God tying up loose ends and separating the wheat from the chaff.

First lets look a little at the overarching and perhaps most interesting aspect of the 2018 spiritual patterns, the separating the wheat from the chaff, which is creating a huge divide between those who have hearts that soften under God’s hand, and those who hold onto their stubborn ignorance. I say ignorance because all those who I’ve seen fall into this pattern of separation were given many many chances to turn their hearts and their ears to God’s call, and instead chose to close off their hearts and block their ears, in order to cling to what suits them better., i.e their own understanding and place in the world.

There has been a significant amount of evidence that God is tying up loose ends as well in 2018. Especially as those who have been persecuted and ridiculed in the past are now being vindicated and those who stood against the remnant are being exposed. The chaff and the persecutors seem to have nowhere hide as God reveals the consequences of having enough rope to hang oneself.

The chickens have come home to roost, and I trust God and I know His judgments are fair and justified, because He alone can read the hearts of men. Still I feel sadness for those who are now suffering. And I don’t mean suffering like the spiritual warfare many of us are suffering under, the frequent yet temporary spiritual attacks or death by a thousand papercuts. No, the suffering I am seeing goes right to the pit of Hell and they aren’t escaping it. They are struggling to find any way out, because there is only one way out, and that’s through the Cross!

He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” Matt 3:12 NLT

So that my friends is the revealing of the ‘chaff’.

As for the wheat! Well it’s time to raise the roof if you are counted as Wheat! Yeeew!

It seems 2018 was the year for change and a year for truth (well for those who value truth at least!). Those of us who had been held captive by lies for far too long saw the light split through and bring clarity! So much clarity, which in turn empowered the courage to take leaps of faith and accept the changes on the horizon, rather than plodding along as normal. This shift saw changes in family dynamics, career paths, finances, schooling, health, location and even faith. It was refreshing, but not without its pains. As with all spiritual empowerment there comes backlash. The intensity of the attacks rose significantly this year, however they seemed short lived for those with strong faith. Just a day here and a week there of distress followed by another incredible and intimate burst of faith. When going through these distress patterns its always important to ask ourselves, “What is God purging from my life?” Often the answer is not just the obvious superficial cleansing but a deeper hidden motive which needs pulling out at the root. This is fabulous news for those who’ve been praying for personal breakthroughs!

Back to touch on that earlier point of ‘incredible and intimate bursts of faith’, the amount of revelation throughout 2018 has been outstanding for those who are open to hearing it. Epiphanies are coming thick and fast as God reveals His secrets to those who trust in Him. If we can manage to hold onto our sanity during the attacks, then the highs are Heavenly indeed!

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)

If none of this makes sense to you, I apologise for the confusion. Those who see the world with physical eyes instead of seeing the spiritual world with their hearts, will surely be confused by this post.

All I have to say is simply this. If what I am seeing is accurate then you will know if you are wheat or you are chaff. You know if you constantly turn your ear to hear God’s voice and follow Him through thick and thin, or if you have chosen not to listen and go your own way.

It’s not too late….. but something BIG is coming so let’s be willing to do whatever it takes to be on the winning side! A little discernment and self-awareness goes a long way!

I’d love to hear if your insights can confirm or deny these patterns. Please get in touch. xx

06/11/2018

The Beauty of Hell

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:06 pm by The Water Bearer

Aren’t you tired of hearing the warning and seeing the cartoons of “Eternal Burning Hell” as the place for those who aren’t righteous and ‘saved’? Those who know me know I get wildly angry around this threat!

Let’s at least agree to the fact that NO ONE actually knows what happens after we pass through death, except those who’ve died, but we can’t really ask them can we? Scriptures give us some hints, but it keeps its secrets hidden for a good reason. If we’re honest, all of us have an idea in our heads of what we would like to happen to the very worst of mankind, but we have to recognise that we DO NOT KNOW! Its not a good look, trying to scare people with some words in a book they don’t value.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

To be frank, I prefer to leave the things I can’t possibly yet understand to God and trust Him that the end result will be fair.

FIRE & BRIM…… What?

While that fantastical threat of ‘Fire & Brimstone’ (what the hell is brimstone anyway?) has been a worthy motivator for conversion to Christianity for millennia, I find the afterlife less motivation than the “Hell on Earth” that we are all familiar with in the here and now.

In this life I’ve had a taste of how horrible Hell on Earth is without my Saviour by my side. That Hellish feeling where everything becomes overwhelming, and fear takes hold, that state of hopelessness and lack of feeling God’s love is unbearable. It’s the place of our crucible, which according to Merriam-Webster means; “a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development“. The truth of this Hell I speak of, didn’t become a distant memory once I asked my Lord to take hold of me and never let me go. Not at all, now He just goes to Hell with me, and because He’s been there before, He can show me the way out, time and time again. Hell still holds its usual bite, but these days I know there is much more than suffering going on.

Even the best of us will go to this Hell at some point, ‘saved’ or not, but the deciding factor as to whether you stay there, or find God and follow His guidance to get out, is not simply a religious act. It’s a conversion of the heart, a listening for His voice in the core of your being when everything around you is in turmoil. Its the very act of being able to identify your own sinful motives, find and trust God personally, gain the lesson and then see the beneficial evidence in the aftermath of that heart transformation.

Then you are resurrected out of hell and into hope, unity, love and peace with God.

Or in other words, you get a taste of absolute HEAVEN on EARTH!

From this perspective, sending someone to Hell is a divine and loving act, remember He sent His own SON there! For it’s the birthplace of freedom from sin!

Some of you won’t follow me from here on out, so before you leave me mid-paragraph, just know that there is no need to keep using your imagination and Scriptural threats to ‘encourage’ people to turn to God. You can use Scripture to confirm your own personal experiences of Heaven and Hell on Earth and share them, at least then your warnings don’t seem like idle threats you can’t back up with priceless tangible experience.

For those special few who grasp this and are hungry for more, lets dig into this together….

PACK YOUR CROSS & GO TO HELL!

Now that we’ve gotten rid of any fakers, let get real. Just because I said the sinner’s prayer and I completely believe that Jesus died for my sins on the cross, went to Hell, and was resurrected, (Yeeew AMEN!) doesn’t mean I have never again sinned or had to suffer the consequences for my sins. I may not need to worry about what comes after my death, but while I’m still here there is still plenty of work to be done, and plenty of unrighteous motives still hidden in my heart that need to be purged. And yours too…. even if you’re not aware of them.

Thankfully I know just the guy to help ‘burn off the dross’ Psalm 119:119 and purify my heart and yours. Please don’t fall for the illusion, it’s a life-long process, and while I more often experience Heaven on Earth since falling in love with Yahweh, than periods of Hell, doesn’t mean I don’t still need to go there from time to time and kill off a deeper level of sin.

“The Son of Man must suffer many things,” He said. “He must be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.…” (Luke 9:22-24)

I don’t believe Jesus was being facetious for dramatic effect or simply referring to the direction of our physical lives. There is a clear message in this Scripture that has helped me find comfort in my own personal experiences of Hell. That, regular awareness of my current and hidden sins will bring me to the cross in deep remorse, where I am willing to give up the sin I was poisoned by, which will take me into a season of Hell, in which I will depend completely on my Saviour to bring me out and then experience the wonderful benefits of the “Born Again” condition on the other side of it all. That’s exactly how I feel. I feel renewed, free from the burden and influence of that sin, a new creation, and deeply in love with my Lord more than ever before…. If that’s at all possible.

Most of you who have stayed with me thus far will know this isn’t a one-time event, and it hasn’t been done ‘for you’ so that you can ignore your sins or pretend they aren’t there. This is a systematic and vital part of the faith journey. In fact, the more sins you identify… THE BETTER! Sure, you’ll go through Hell, but there is no avoiding it, and you don’t have to stay there! You don’t have to go alone! And the Heaven on the other side is incredibly worth it!

“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

HELL ON EARTH IS ENOUGH MOTIVATION

Perhaps those of you who value this process, will now be more comfortable using your own admission of purging sin, of Hell on Earth, and the brilliance of the Cross, to encourage others to connect with Christ.

Not because of the fear of some unfathomable place after you die, but because suffering here is real and it can be Hell: If its not a matter of if I go to Hell but when, I’d rather not go alone. Would you? We can carry our cross in one hand and hold our Saviours’ hand with the other. There is more than enough motivation in this to fall head over heels in love with our Lord once He meets you in Hell and shows you the way out. … because you never know, if you go alone you just may find yourself stuck there for what feels like eternity.

05/10/2018

The Itchy Jumper

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:17 am by The Water Bearer


I’m struggling to put into words what is happening to me right now….. Trust me, this is not something I’m used to, I can always find some verbal acrobatics to wrap around what God is doing and how my soul is responding. Alas sometimes there are no familiar words.

Its just well ….. New.

And admittedly, not very comfortable.

Like wearing that tight itchy woolen jumper which your favourite Nanna handmade and watched with delight as you stretched it over your body. You can’t simply discard it, it is far too precious, but wearing it attacks your thoughts, constantly begging to be removed, to soften, to fit.

Over the years since my car accident and even since reuniting with my Dad some years prior, I’ve watched as God has unearthed secret inner enemies from my soul and given me opportunities to practice making new decisions without the influence of each one. Each was a strange and foreign experience; practicing life with a brand new insight, and deeper awareness felt just like wearing that jumper. I always felt extremely self-conscious.. I simply could not blend in!

Does that even make sense?

Let me give a couple of examples….

Once I realised the secret within me which believed in false versions of love, I was given opportunities to practice changing the way my emotions led me down that path… It was awkward to not rely on auto-pilot, or default to beliefs I’d held for decades. It took a forceful mindful effort to rethink my actions, and not to give way to old habits and old ways of thinking. After many years of practice I now recognise true love almost instinctively.

Once I realised the secret of my ‘Daddy Issues‘, I was given opportunities to build my security from faith in The Almighty, rather than expect it from human beings. It was uncomfortable to be watchful and ask the questions, what is my motive here, who am I relying on, am I doing it again? These days, I see security in every direction. Amen!

There have been thousands of these inner enemies over the past two decades.

And now I’m facing another one. The itchy jumper is back! Ugh!

This time, the secret is the deep archaic desire to please people, to be loved, be heard, accepted, understood, valued.

With the arrival of my new business/ministry venture it’s far too easy to be seduced into looking at the external landmarks, the number of clients, the evidence of connection, the potential, the expansion, as the gauge of its success. A powerful motivator isn’t it! Yet, I’m aware that this seduction may very well pollute the purity of my motives, empowering that secret desire and letting it push me outside of God’s will.

I refuse to go on allowing my deepest inner critic or the fault-finders in my life to misconstrue my value or success. I will not make another step towards that goal. It’s almost like an alter in the high places in Canaan which God warned His children to destroy. I wanted to burn Sanctuary Stretch to the ground rather than risk building an idol.

The itchy jumper is that I shall fail. Fail to live up to other people’s expectations. Fail to get through to those who aren’t yet ready for this message. Fail to be completely understood. Fail to be popular. Fail to be successful. I chose to fail because….

I’d rather fail, I’d rather see it all fall in a heap, than allow inner enemies to corrupt it. I aim to seek approval of God alone, His promises to me are not reliant upon what others think. People look to the outside, but my Lord, He looks to the heart! The deepest, truest part of the heart!

And so here I am, still helping my clients, still running workshops, still writing blogs and class programs and meditations, but without any of the potential to appease the inner desire or feed my inner enemies. I wait on Him, wearing that itchy jumper, expecting His promises will be kept without any help from my inner enemies.

I wonder if others out there know how this itchy jumper feels? Do you rip it off? Soak it in fabric softener? Wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath? Or do you tolerate it? Learn from it? Wear it in until it becomes your favourite jumper in the world!

28/08/2018

How Healthy is Your Mind?

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:16 pm by The Water Bearer

I often wonder why some people aren’t as concerned about their mental health as others. It seems to me in this current age of high stress and constant busyness, more of us would be vigilant at ensuring the healthy condition of our minds.

I’ve seen too many people out there wondering why they are trapped in an unhealthy and unhappy life, who avoid assessing their mental health for fear of the stigma attached. I was one of those myself until my car accident forced me to take a closer look at the way my mind works and why.

That old saying comes to mind “Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness.” I actually believe the opposite is true. If we don’t ask ourselves questions we believe the first thing that comes to mind and stay the same without growth or reaching our potential.

Over the past decade or so I have noticed people tend to fall into one of the following three common categories when it comes to mind health. I wonder if you recognise these traits?

Group 1 – IGNORE their Mental Health

This category contains those who take no time to be curious about the motives of their hearts. They don’t ask “why did I do that or say that?” even if they are abusive and dysfunctional, because they seem to believe the first excuse that comes to mind. They choose not to investigate the condition of their emotional health. They never ask themselves “what is the universe or God trying to purge from the selfish core of my soul?” They ignore or deny the feedback they receive from the social cues of the world. Rather than wondering how they can change themselves to adapt to their world, they waste copious amounts of effort and emotion on fighting against it. I’ve come to notice the fear that controls this group. They are afraid of facing their flaws, everyone else is the problem, even God’s plan is wrong (in some way or another). They often hate silence and can’t stand to be still or alone. They are likely to fight against a sleepless night rather than accept the words of that still small voice within.

Category 2 – BLAME their Mental Health

This group are the ones who know that life is unfair and yet use it to their own reward. Having a diagnosis of mental health, physical pain or grief often becomes a label used to avoid getting healthy and happy. Its far easier to get sympathy and sidestep the difficult challenges and responsibility of getting back on track after each trial. This group self-sabotage, finding excuses to stay miserable, usually thriving on drama and stress and become addicted to contributing negativity to the world. Blaming the reality of life and God for their discontent comes naturally, rather than seeking to discover the hope, growth and fortitude that is born from trials. They may ask for help and yet follow none of the advice given. I’ve noticed the bitterness that drives this group. It is deep seated and poisonous to their souls and ours if we stay around them too long.

You may know someone who fits into one or both of the above categories, you may even be one yourself, I wouldn’t be surprised. I have been there too….. In fact they’re easy to waver in and out from time to time.

It takes wisdom to see that giving sympathy and attention as rewards is actually enabling these groups to stay miserable. Yet our culture has somehow forgotten how to voice the truth with tact and honesty, and so we choose not to say anything at all, while our loved ones stay trapped in their misery.

And yet let’s not lose all hope, for we still have the third group to go. These people are actually more common than we might think, they just don’t broadcast their self-care.

Category 3 – NURTURE their Mental Health

This group of people understand the difficulties of life, they take the hits, go through moments of weakness and low periods. Some have been diagnosed with a mental illness, some have not. The things they have in common are self-awareness, self-responsibility, and trust. They make no excuses for their mistakes and struggles, they focus on the lessons. They accept the dark times as opportunities to see the light again one day. Faith gives them hope and courage to push on. They direct their efforts to caring for and protecting their mental health by setting up certain guidelines to follow that won’t lead them into a pit of self-pity. They practice letting go of control and being grateful, they practice being still and appreciate silence. They aim for a good sleeping routine and have very few unhealthy indulgences. They choose wisely who they spend time with. They pay attention to their own emotional stability and listen to sound advice in order to arrange themselves in a way that steers their course closer to the person they hope to be. They are committed to learning the truth about themselves, and the impact they can have on those they come into contact with. They are humble enough to admit when they are wrong and assertive enough to stand up for their truth.

As I look out into the faces of Sanctuary Stretch clients I see these qualities being nurtured. Some have only just begun their journey and others are well and truly reaping the benefits after committing to the practice.

Perhaps like me, you realise you are ready to change groups? I did it, and you can too.

 

10/08/2018

Giving The Devil His Dues

Posted in Finding Faith, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:24 pm by The Water Bearer


We’ve believed for too long that evil lingers only in the shadows of the world and in wicked people, when the truth is far more difficult to accept.

My favourite quote from my favourite movie, The Italian Job, goes like this,

“I trust everyone, I just don’t trust the devil inside them” – Donald Sutherland.

This is my absolute favourite quote because it sums up so simply the hidden location of the enemy of God. A fact I’ve been intent on exposing ever since I can remember.

Whether we have figured it out yet or not, everyone has elements of divine righteousness within the fabric of their being, at the same time, everyone has elements of the exact opposite. Its in facing these elements within ourselves that we discover the problem with the world and the source of the solution. We can then direct the focus of our efforts in faith to the frontline of the war, instead of losing the war to ignorance and going about business as usual.

No longer can we sit by and point our finger out into the world, at the media, the terrorists, the dictators and the criminals and say “That’s the Devil”. It’s far too easy, and quite frankly its a cop out. Yes there is evil ‘out there’ but it’s in here too. Ignoring it, having a tantrum or complaining about it isn’t going to change the state of reality.

We live in a fallen world, and yes the enemy is doing everything he can to steer us into destruction, but since when have you been able to change the state of the entire world? So, why would God give us promises throughout the whole of scripture that we can overcome the enemy, if evil’s ‘out there’ and uncontrollable? Why would there be scripture’s reminding us that we can use the weapons available to us found in the Word to stand in victory and righteousness, if we are simply forced to be neighbours with ‘evil’ for our entire lives?

Fair enough, for those who haven’t found the gems of truth in the Word, I guess its easy to say “Its all a load of rot” and be done with it and go back to feeling helpless in an evil world.

However for those who have really experienced the amazing truth that God is trustworthy to fulfil His Word, then we have to stop passing the buck of evil onto others and finally give the devil his dues.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) 

That urge to control others instead of yourself, that’s him. That desire to decide for yourself what you would do if you were God, him again! That decision based entirely on selfish motives, that’s him too. The idea that we can pretty up our outsides with rituals and religiosity to be seen as righteous, that is his allure. That whisper of bitterness that focuses on the faults in others instead of asking what our role in the saga might have been, that’s got his name all over it. That fear that tells you you’re not worthy, or the arrogance that tells you you’re worth more than others, that’s his calling card. And the presumption of knowing enough scripture to then condemn and manipulate others, that is his ace card.

Scripture is the scalpel, it will reveal the hidden intentions of your heart and mine, but it is a deeply private affair. Facing up to our motives takes more courage than I can muster. The awareness of my own inner enemies is what keeps me thirsting for truth, grace and strength at the feet of my Saviour. In spite of the evil within, I can think of no better place to be.

 

 

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