02/09/2017

Religion Vs Relationship

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:17 am by The Water Bearer

People Often Misjudge

I can hear the whispers, whispers from people who think they once knew me. Now that I have begun sharing my faith in a more public forum, the whispers are hovering… “She’s changed, She’s gone all religious!”

I understand that those who never really knew me may think that I must have turned some huge corner in my set of beliefs, because I’ve never looked like your average “Christian” on the outside. I’m far too open about my brokenness, my flaws are too boisterous to be hidden away. I am much too concerned about breaking curses inside, than focusing on a mask of goodness on the outside. I try to live in the freedom of authenticity, fully aware of my lack of perfection.

The truth is, I’ve held the same beliefs for my entire life. My first prayer was answered when I was 8 years old, and I have felt a unique connection to God ever since. The reason I may not look or act like your stereotypical “Christian” may be because my faith was never nurtured in a church environment, so I find it quite bizarre, that I am now the founder of an incredible Scripture-Based Wellness program like Sanctuary Stretch!

To be completely honest, I like being called religious about as much as most people like being called “sinners”. In fact I prefer admitting myself as a sinner, far more than religious or even Christian. I have plenty of faith and devotion, Im just put off by the picture that those words conjure up. Religion did a real number on me, my family and many of my loved ones, and probably many of yours too. In my history, to be called religious was the biggest insult going. It deemed you unfit for human interaction, it exiled you from your family and labeled you crazy! 

The word ‘Heretic’ is probably closer to the right title for me. Now before you go grab your torch and pitchfork, hear me out. A heretic is someone who strongly opposes an established belief. Therefore, if the established belief is that you must look perfect on the outside, and go to a particular church regularly, and walk, talk and act like all others in that church, in order to be saved, then yes I strongly oppose!

Obviously not everyone in Christian circles are guilty of promoting this belief, many are genuine and humble, they accept that God is working with everyone everywhere. But even still, as a whole, ‘playing God’ and misjudgment is rife and much damage has been done.

1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Inauthentic Connections

We are biologically designed to search for a place where we fit. A community. A tribe. We’re easily tempted to change our outsides to fit in with a particular group, rather than to stand in authenticity and risk being rejected or ridiculed. I always felt like a round peg looking for a place to fit, but everywhere I went I found people who inflicted guilt trips in order to shave a bit off me here and there to get me to fit into their square hole. A relationship with God can not be forced, coerced or manipulated, just as with any genuine relationship. It grows in our hearts as we engage transparently, more and more, which is a very difficult thing for humans to assess from the outside.

Guilt is a powerful tool to promote conformity, but the desire for external acceptance often causes us to miss the whole point of faith entirely. We were all made with extreme diversity. Billions of humans designed to be unique and complex, to have different experiences and hearts that soften under different circumstances, can not, and should not have to be all on the exact same narrow path in order to experience a true relationship with their creator. Thinking this way only promotes disingenuous mindlessness, following the herd, which scarily only pushes our flaws deeper within, where they can fester and poison us even further, and then threaten future generations dramatically.

The even scarier part is that when we have perfected our mask, and found a tribe that accepts us, we no longer desperately need a Saviour. Our relationship with God then also lacks the authenticity vital for changing our hearts.

He Came For The Broken

So if I am not “religious” why am I promoting faith? And what kind of faith am I promoting?

My faith walk has not consisted of sitting in a comfy church chair, with a neatly pressed suit, and the fruits of the spirit on show for all to see. My walk has been more like a bloopers reel. From the outside you would have seen, a terrified thumb-sucker, who grew to dabble with drugs and promiscuity for ‘tribe’ approval. A teen mum with a hideous emotionally manipulative nature. A young Mum involved in a car accident that wiped out my ability to function and achieve, taking my self-worth along for the ride, leaving me injured, anxious, depressed and battling sucidal thoughts. I’ve had numerous health concerns, panic attacks and car phobia, I’ve been dependant on countless prescription drugs and always been more comfortable around a pool table than a pulpit. Pretty much my entire faith walk has consisted of me wrestling with inner enemies, falling flat on my face, turning my heart towards Christ for His guidance and abundant Grace and being set on my feet over and over and over again.

Along this journey it may have appeared that I was far from God, and far from saved, but I can assure you that God made His awesome presence felt every single step of the way. My relationship with Him grew as my faith did, I came to depend on Him a little more, and a little more. Each time I fell was a chance to give Him more and more control over my heart and my life. He never once let me down! Every inch of suffering on that road has been filled with intention and meaning. SLOWLY refining me, as is still the case!

I have come across many people in this life, who feel far too broken to put themselves in the firing line of a religious group. Those unwilling and unable to pretend they have the fruits of the spirit flowing from every orifice. I can testify that I actually FELT the fruits of the spirits being developed and experienced inside of me, long before anyone else could see them on the outside. God knows, Men don’t!

Breaking the Myth

Somewhere along the way a myth began to surface in Christian circles, that being ‘saved’ is an attractive process. We conjure up pictures of saints volunteering their time to a worthy cause with no thought for self, we picture hands raised in worship and wide smiles on faces. We picture sanity, health and prosperity, and a multitude of Christian Brothers and Sisters united in compassion and joy. We picture political correctness and perfect manners. Truth be told, the process of becoming ‘reborn’ requires complete destruction and then reconstruction, a public death accompanied with humiliation. It is a life long marathon, not a sprint. It can not be rushed. It is never a pretty sight to become desperate for God to do a work in us. Hungering and thirsting for the Word is born from intense periods of the inner war.  God is thorough if nothing else, He is not willing for us to just sit the test, He wants us to get an A+. Which of course means being tested and tested and tested again. Each time, a new level of self-deception is revealed and a new piece of truth replaces it.

And lets not kid ourselves into thinking for one minute that once we have turned our own hearts inside out and had them purified that we are going to look all shiny and new. Absolutely not, we then begin interceding for the generational curses in our families, and after that we carry the yoke of our ministries and communities. As long as we walk this earth we have more purging to be done.

A Place to Fit

The reason I have such a passion to now share my experiences of faith in such a public way, is because everyone deserves a little encouragement to turn their hearts to God. It’s far from an easy road and trying to overcome the obsticles of life without God is something I wouldn’t want to inflict on anyone. Its one thing to be separated from God because we chose that in our hearts, but its an entirely different ball of wax to feel separated from God because we are too broken to pretend we aren’t broken. Or battling too many inner enemies to worry about how offensive our external smoke-screen is. Or put off by religiosity and misjudgment.

Intimacy with God is personal, private, and often painful. But it is only with His strength that we get through it and come out a little better each time. My hope is that no matter where you are on your faith walk, you feel the need to take time out from distractions and expectations, to turn your hearts to Him and enter God’s presence. That is what Sanctuary Stretch hopes to encourage. Whether you are needing to fill your cup in order to pour into the lives of others going through trials, or if you need your cup filling because you are being emptied daily by your own trials.

All can benefit from a true intimate relationship with God, if they are willing.

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

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01/08/2017

Please Excuse My Self-Care

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by The Water Bearer

So often in my own life, and in the stories I’ve heard from loved ones, acquaintances and potential clients, self-care takes a back seat. Usually because we have somewhere along the way believed the stream of accusations of our selfishness, whenever we disappoint someone, either from critics around us, or our own internal voice. We find ourselves with no free time or energy, as we try to meet all the demands and responsibilities placed upon us.

We then transform into people pleasers, consumed by pedantic expectations, driving us to twist and mould into the cookie cutter shape someone else has decided we should fit. We tend to fall into the mindset that if we put everyone else’s needs before our own, then we must be right. Righteous even!

After this song and dance routine for a few years, it can be common to hit a wall. I don’t know about you, but I found it exhausting trying to keep appeasing each new unpredictable disappointment in those around me.

We are prickly creatures sometimes, us human beings, and we have a knack for taking our crap out on those closest to us. If we are lacking in self-awareness we fail to understand where the line is that allocates blame, and unable to own our own disappointments. Rather, we let fly on others, with only excuses and accusations for the outbursts.

For those of us who have commonly been on the receiving end of these outbursts, becoming a “People Pleaser” is almost second nature. Cleary accusations and guilt trips are obviously things we instinctively want to avoid, and it is often easier to change ourselves accordingly, especially when there is no apology in sight to release us from the blame.

The reason this constant shape shifting drives us into that wall, is because shape-shifting actually prevents us from knowing who we are, what our purpose is, and where we draw self-esteem from. Which is completely unsustainable long term. Plus the inner discomfort is toxic, and it usually manifests in our lives in self-destructive and unhealthy ways. Binge drinking, eating, smoking, promiscuity, and other addiction based behaviours.  Shape shifting consumes our self-compassion and our joy, leaving us with a tank emptier than an oily rag.

If we think about it logically, we only become more selfish when our tank is empty, we begin to put up walls so that we have fewer people to please. Often that empty tank leads to some form of physically illness and we suddenly realise that our illness is a wonderful way to shift the blame off our shoulders, a great excuse for failing to meet the demands of our relationships and our lives ….”I can’t keep you happy when I’m not 100% can I?”

Now be careful if this is starting to sound familiar, because it can become a viscous cycle!

This is a common reason why so many avoid regular therapy, or avoid any serious steps to develop their faith. They avoid making any positive changes in their diet, exercise regime or bad habits, and it’s why they remain stuck in a rut with staggering levels of low self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, and selfish misery.

However, setting aside time and effort, creativity and passion for your self care and the things that fill your soul, is actually going to benefit more people in the long run.

Hear me out on this.

It seems everyone now is talking about self-care vs selfishness, and the difference between having self-interest and being selfish. Is it more and more common for people to use ‘self care’ it as an excuse to get out of doing the things they don’t want to do? Which actually if you think about it, takes healthy self-care and turns it into selfishness. HOWEVER, if a little self-interest helps generate more self-awareness, less reactive behaviours, and increases joy, self-compassion and tolerance. The fall out it seems, is that self-tolerance leads to increased ability to tolerate others, self-care increases our ability to care for others in healthy ways, spreading joy and peace. Perhaps the only negative consequence is that we just might piss off a few high maintenance people along the way. Which we were probably already doing for the wrong reasons before, and I can tell you, that they will singing a different tune when you find your tank full enough to actually help them when they Really need it!

So go ahead, give yourself permission to take care of yourself! Attend that Sanctuary Stretch Class, take ten minutes to listen to that Scripture -Meditation, enjoy some quiet moments in that warm bubble bath. Start that project you’ve been pondering. Set in place some healthy practices and protect your need to honour them. You not only Deserve it.. you Need it!

www.sanctuarystretch.com 

Sanctuary Stretch on YouTube

05/07/2017

Walking in Trust

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith tagged , , , , , , at 5:34 pm by The Water Bearer

“Argh God why? Why don’t you answer me? Why am I stuck in this situation, you know I believe in you! Why don’t you help me?”

I’m sure I am not the only one who has prayed this prayer more times than I’d like to count. Sometimes our situations just plainly well…. suck!

It can be so easy to focus on our sucky situation, and allow our discomfort to create doubt in us as to whether or not we can actually trust God. Trust Him to care for us, Trust Him to hear us, Trust Him to answer us, Trust Him to be able and willing to change our circumstances.

It can so often seem as if we are constantly waiting for God. However, Simply put, God is usually waiting on us.

Waiting for us to look past the discomfort, past the fear, past the physical evidence, look past our feelings and trust Him anyway.

That’s right, trust Him despite our circumstances, despite our feelings.

Perhaps we can change our prayer to something like ……

“I don’t feel like I can trust you Lord, I don’t feel sure, I feel fear, I feel doubt! But I am going to say I trust you anyway. I trust you, I trust you, I trust you!” …. Then Walk in That Statement!

Far too often we wait for our circumstances to change before we trust God and step out in faith. We wait for things to get easier, we wait for the physical evidence to appear less volatile, less unstable, more comfortable. Then we feel more capable to handle the next few steps, we feel more able to trust.

But aren’t we then just back to trusting ourselves? (Our unstable, fickle human selves!)

What if the difficult circumstances are actually our best opportunity to reach a new, deeper level of trust, of faith and intimacy with God? 

So often in fact that is exactly the case!

Don’t miss it! This your chance to discover a little more just how wonderfully trustworthy our Heavenly Father is!

Once you experience this level of intimacy nothing can shake it, because physical circumstances will come and go, feelings of doubt will grow and fade, but God will remain. He stands firm on His promises.

Go ahead and test the ground for yourself. 

You will never regret stepping out on the promises of God! 

 

06/02/2017

It All Makes Sense Now!

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:19 am by The Water Bearer

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So many are completely unaware of the battle Inner Angels and Enemies has been trying to expose over the past 5 years. We ignore the hidden stresses and insecurities that poison us from underneath a helmet of mindlessness. Our busy minds are bombarded by excess, alarmism and dysfunction, and most of us are just trying to cope, just barely holding it all together.

Often those who claim serenity, who claim to have a handle on stress, have actually withdrawn from life in some way. Refraining from deep relationships, avoiding every potential for suffering, disconnecting from the masses. Some have removed themselves from society, or simply live in a state of ignorance. And while I agree that we all need a break from time to time, I do not believe God intended us to live in a permanent state of disconnectedness, only to interact in short and occasional bursts, and then retreat away again. The scriptures say to be not of this world, but that does not mean we are to disconnect from it. We are given the powers of heaven to OVERCOME the dysfunctional patterns of the world. To still be able to interact and impact our communities positively, and have deep meaningful relationships. To not be governed by indulgence and addiction as the world encourages, but to defeat emotions grounded in selfishness, bitterness, fear, and pride…

Deuteronomy 14:2 “You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.”  Those words ‘set apart‘ is translated from the Hebrew word Qadowsh, which actually means Holy and Sacred. This infers, not that we are separated in physicality or proximity, or even emotionally, but rather in morality!

In order to gain back some awareness of our thoughts and behaviours, psychologist have been using meditation and mindfulness to help manage some of the dysfunctional conditions which are becoming epidemic in our society. Conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, mood disorders, addiction and more. Using techniques which decrease stress, slow the brainwaves and increase awareness, we are actually able to rewire our brains and alter these dysfunctional patterns we have adopted. This is wonderful news for those who are in the pursuit of wellness because it means we have access to healing without spending a fortune on pills and potions.

For those who are also in pursuit of faith as they strive toward wellness, the scriptures hold vital keys. These patterns of dysfunctional behaviours, become locked into our subconscious, and are identified as the ‘Sins of the flesh’  according to the Word of God. Mindlessness prevents us from recognising how deep we have gone. Therefore Self-Awareness is vital to recognise areas of our subconscious that require alteration, which you can read more about in this post. While meditating on the scriptures and absorbing the character of Christ, we can alter subconscious patterns to align with His perfect example. Replacing, selfish and unrighteous patterns with patience, gentleness, kindness, selflessness and LOVE.16179531_10208876869061159_6338859408483906915_o

This concept is the foundation for a calling God has placed on my heart, as mentioned in this previous post. Leading me to design a program that unites Self-awareness with Scripture Meditation. I can hardly wrap my head around the abundance of evidence God has guided me towards to support this program. It is founded in Science, Scripture and life Experience.

After so many years battling with all manner of dysfunction, mental illness, injury, and sickness I NOW UNDERSTAND WHAT GOD WAS DOING! He was using those situations to bring me to this place, a place where I can show others how to develop wellness and faith, and how to rewire their bodies and minds. It is a place where I can use my testimony to expose the enemy and to restore the reputation of the stunning and incredible Character of God!

God used my experiences to lead me to become the founder of a unique concept called Sanctuary Stretch.

I am amazed to tell you that while I was once unemployable, and even suicidal, I am now a certified Pilates Instructor and Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher, and have combined those two techniques with the Word of God to decrease stress, restore physical vitality and bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! You can read all about it on the Sanctuary Stretch Facebook Page or website. For those in the Sunshine State…South East Corner…Australia… I look forward to seeing you for your first FREE CLASS!

Don’t you deserve some time out to distress and rejuvenate mind, body and faith under the loving gaze of your Loving Heavenly Father? Of course you do.. WE ALL DO!

thnp0vehz8

02/02/2017

From Panic to Purpose!

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:52 pm by The Water Bearer

 

purpose

Inner Angels and Enemies turns 5 in two short months! 5 Years! Wow, that is mind blowing!

As I look back over some old posts I realise just how far I have come, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement during those scary and dark years. You, my readers, have witnessed as I battled with enemies of panic and self-condemnation, held back from living life to the fullest, as I worked through every one of those toxic thoughts and behaviours, with a faithful God as my constant source of strength and refuge. I always wrote under the pseudonym ‘The Water Bearer’, because my anxiety made me feel far too vulnerable as I shared such private thoughts and intense struggles.

In my attempts to recover from my injuries from my car accident, and the psychological fall out from my nervous breakdown, God led me diligently through therapy and I began doing Pilates and Meditation exercises. After so many years trapped in dysfunctional subconscious patterns, I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but the panic attacks still remained. In this post I explained how a trip to Africa and a calling to jump off a bridge changed me and ended my panic attacks. Now don’t get me wrong I still get anxiety, it just no longer cripples me, or lasts very long. The theory God was guiding me to understand was that through it all He had hold of me, that I was safe, that I could face all fear head on, He was trustworthy to never let me go and would use my struggles to lead me towards my purpose. I just needed to believe and follow His guidance!

So I did as I was told….. You can watch my bridge jump here….

 

 

Since that amazing trip, now that fear no longer holds me back, I have had so many new and amazing experiences. I began playing keyboard and singing and wrote a few of my own songs and teamed up with friends to perform them. Through a happy turn of events I developed a friendship with my favourite singer/songwriter, who introduced me to a wonderful faith-based community church where I feel inspired and cherished. And just recently, God placed a calling on my life that has lead to the most incredible fulfilment and purpose!

Well now the tides have turned on this Water Bearer and I am stepping out in faith again, in order to use this blog to support my next endeavour, which I will give the details of in my next post. So watch this space! I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how amazing and faithful Our Saviour is, to have led me through the deepest of valleys and brought me to a place where I sing His praises, not just in the storms, but also in the beautiful dazzling light of His Glory!

Blessings to you all!

– Claire Marie B

 

14/11/2016

Suffering & Spiritual Audits

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:24 pm by The Water Bearer

audit

Suffering is a part of life, as we all are well aware. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves and our loved ones, there are always trials on the horizon. It can be so easy to turn to God in anger, in our resistance to the suffering we perceive He has control over, and quite frankly we expect more from a loving and good God. Yet Christ himself was not even spared the element of suffering in His life. In fact quite the opposite. Christ, being God in the flesh had opportunity and power to avoid suffering and yet didn’t. Even now as God watches over all of us, His children, He Himself suffers as much, if not more, than we do.

So then if God won’t even prevent His own Son’s suffering, or Himself from suffering, why should we expect any different?

A couple of differences between our suffering and Christ’s is firstly that Christ was willing to suffer, where we commonly resist it. And secondly is that Christ had no need for a spiritual audit because He had no sin in Him.

A spiritual audit is exactly as it sounds, a deep inspection of the condition of our hearts, our behaviour, our thoughts, our habits, our obedience and our relationship with God.

Suffering is a result of sin, not always directly tied to our own personal sin, as in “I shouldn’t have had an affair because now my family have left me and it hurts.”, rather as a general rule of the state of sin in the world. God suffers not because of His own sin, but because of the sin in the world. Christ’s death proves that it doesn’t matter how ‘good’ we are, sin will still impact us during our time on earth and cause us pain.

When we go through sufferance, it weakens our resolve taking us to a place where our stubborn hearts have need of God and His assistance. For those who are willing to perform a spiritual audit on themselves there is hope in trials, as evidence that a better change is coming, bringing a brightness of the new spiritual position to be obtained, as even more darker elements are cleared out. A new level of growth in Answer to fervent prayers for God to change our hearts and free us from temptation and despair.

For those of us who expect an easy life and refuse to acknowledge the need of a spiritual audit, by believing ourselves already acceptable, self-assessment is an unnecessary pass time. Because of an ignorance to the pride in our hearts, suffering is a reason to question and challenge God, and to fight against His will. However, when the level of suffering is personal in such a way that we can not ignore the role we played in the consequences of our suffering, more hearts are inclined to self-assess and want to change their ways.

Stubborn hearts pray for others to be as ‘good’ as they are, and pray in anger towards God against the suffering of the innocent. Whereas humble hearts pray for the improved condition of their own standing, and in submission pray for all sin to be overcome, easing the suffering for all, not just the apparent innocent.

For, all of us, every single one has sinned against God, and against our fellow man, in more ways than we like to admit. Our Inner Enemies make our decisions for us so often and we begin to wonder how we ever became who we are. Performing a regular spiritual audit keeps track of exactly what our inner enemies are up to, self-awareness removes all excuses and distractions, and pays attention to ourselves in ways we avoid daily. Being mindful of our thoughts and behaviour gives us back the power to change them, to bring them under the captivity and obedience of Christ.

The enemy of God has tried to convince us that our failings and sins are reasons audit-2to avoid God, out of fear, so we not only hide them from Him, but also from ourselves. A spiritual audit clears out this reasoning and reduces us to a humble servant of God, willing to be cleansed, forgiven and loved. Loved with such intensity that our relationship with God is not dependent upon our ‘goodness’ but rather our ability to spiritually audit ourselves and our hearts under God’s gaze and be reassured and confident in His Grace and His Love.

We feel beforehand that this process is a scary thing, yet let me reassure you, you will never regret it, you will grow, grow within yourself, and grow in your relationship with God, and fall deeper in Love with Christ every time you experience the comfort of His Forgiving Grace.

amazing-grace

13/09/2016

He Watches Over Us!

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:19 pm by The Water Bearer

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Our minds are extremely powerful, capable of incredible feats of deep thinking, absorbing knowledge and understanding, and making innovative discoveries. Yet for many of us with a creative mind, which is so often accompanied with manic thought patterns laced with insecurity, our minds may at times begin to feel like an enemy that we cannot always trust to have our best interests at heart. This concept lies at the heart of Inner Angels and Enemies.

During our journey in faith we become aware of God’s ever present and watchful eye upon us. Even if we somehow managed to avoid and drown it out previously, we soon find ourselves very aware of its constancy as we pursue righteousness and Christ likeness.

I realised recently that my regular overthinking patterns are severely impacted by the pursuit of righteousness and the undoubtable fact that God’s eye never leaves me, plus my constant awareness of Him and ALL that He is. Which is wonderful when considering His abundant Love, Protection and Provision. Yet when concerning the wicked hidden intentions of our hearts, our pride and our selfishness, knowing that God is always watching can become something to shy away from, leading to self-condemnation and excess guilt.

Inner Enemies are always trying to convince us of God’s apparent tyranny. Using our vulnerability under God’s watchful eye, to emphasize our flaws and failings, in an aim to use our shame to motivate us to HIDE from God’s sight. This scheme goes back to the beginning of mankind when Adam and Eve first tried to HIDE from God in the Garden of Eden.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”… (Genesis 3: 8-10)

Thinking on this we see that they hid themselves because they were ashamed. Yet God is well aware of our hidden flaws, and the things we are ashamed of, there is no hiding no matter how much we try. We can only distance ourselves from Him at our end, by closing our hearts off to Him and by trying to ignore His presence, leaving us separated from His covenant protection, and provision. Is that really what we want?

I was prompted to ponder this in more detail recently when I read this scripture.

“But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (Psalms 33:18)

When we read that word FEAR we immediately begin to conjure up images in our heads of being afraid, scared, perhaps of someone unfair, selfish and even evil. This is The Enemy once again suggesting that God is an intimidating bully of some description. Yet that word Fear has interpretations meaning to “Cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe, and to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe”  This fear is the automatic response of our heart when we are deeply rooted in respect and admiration for God’s omnipotence. Just as any respectful child has high esteem looking up to those in a loving but firm position of authority over them, such as a parent, a guardian, a mentor, or coach. Therefore, we can have this same awed fealty when we return God’s gaze with our own.

Then we read about ‘those who hope in God’s unfailing love’. Those who have spent enough time in true relationship with the Almighty will have plenty of evidence of His goodness to find hope in His unfailing Love. The Holy Spirit who has been growing within us, guides us to depend on the truth of God’s Love, which God’s very nature and power are established in. It is only our Inner Enemies that hold up our shame and guilt as reasons to doubt the truth of His love.

But what about all those flaws that we are ashamed of? Doesn’t He want us to improve our character towards righteousness?

ABSOLUTELY! It is the most important task He has assigned each of us in the entire universe!

But righteousness only truly happens in us when we press into HIM. He offers us a way through His loving grace to develop a character like Christ. Under His watchful eye He purges our deepest hidden wickedness and replaces it with His very own spirit, He removes our shame and replaces it with freedom. When we constantly reciprocate His gaze by keeping our eyes focused on Him miracles within us begin to happen!

If we had valid reasons to HIDE from Him this whole system would fail!

Isn’t it about time we asked ourselves which entity has the most to gain from the consensus that God is someone to hide from?

The Enemy of God’s whole purpose in existence is to dethrone God and take his place, not just in the Kingdoms of the Universe but most importantly inside each of us. If God is not seated in the highest position of our hearts then the Enemy is, usually in the form of one of his worldly distractions. There is no 3rd option!

What better way to dethrone God than to undermine God’s unfailing love and righteousness, by giving us suggestions of God’s tyranny and reasons to hide our hearts from Him? These are lies in a devious attempt to keep us imprisoned in our own selfish prideful flesh so we may not seek to discover the abundant growth that comes from an intimate relationship with the Awesome Almighty Creator of the Universe who just wants to be close to us!

After everything God and I have been through together, He has unfailingly convinced me that He operates in this system of Love & Grace, reassuring me that there is NO need to HIDE from Him! My spirit grows in trusting Him each time I fall at His feet and He uses my failings and flaws to humble my heart and then uses me to glorify Him!! Amen!!

Therefore I am so utterly grateful for His ever watchful eye. :’) Aren’t you?

Let us not then hide in shame from the God who watches over us, let us reciprocate his loving gaze with our own and keep our eyes and hearts focused on Him. You will never regret it!

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18/06/2016

Go Ahead and Ask!

Posted in Finding Faith tagged , , , , , at 8:23 am by The Water Bearer

doubt

I have this friend, a friend who is more like family. I have a longing in my heart to undo all the damage that Religion has done to him and replace it with the Love of God. Sadly it has become a taboo subject. He knows I have an abundance of faith and yet he finds it laughable.

You see his only memories of God, Christ and the Bible are tainted by an abusive and legalistic school system. Forced to believe in a God he could not identify with, and expected to behave in ways completely foreign to his nature. He was told to accept teachings that made no sense to him or God would send him to an unending place of torment and fire. Now this is bad enough in itself, yet he was abused further for asking challenging questions when he had doubts about the teachings he was being held captive by.

For those of us who have also experienced this type of controlling religiosity, and because the scriptures are often confusing for us in our immaturity, it is no wonder many pull away from God, from Christ and from the Bible. Especially as the basis of any faith comes from a place of what makes sense to us, not just what we are told, otherwise it simply unravels as we grow in understanding and maturity. We begin to realise that the theories we have been taught no longer line up with our reasoning and comprehension. Just as Santa Claus is easy to believe when we are very young, as we grow, we start to have doubts, we begin to ask intelligent, rational, and reasonable questions such as, *How does he reach every house in only 24hrs? Or *How does he get to the Christmas tree of houses that have no chimney. *Why do we let someone we have never met into our homes when we sleep? *Why did I get all these presents when I have been naughty?

This friend of mine is extremely intelligent. He values wisdom and historical knowledge and reason. So when he was punished for investigating the parts of religion that made no sense to him, he gave up any shred of faith he may have had in the God of the Bible. His rational doubts were met with irrational responses, which gave him few other options than to conclude that they were all talking a load of rubbish.

His teachers were afraid of his challenges, they were angry at his doubts, and yet the truth has no need to fear investigation.

In this fantastic message which I heard recently, came this insightful quote. “Doubt creates a space for faith to exist, for without doubt, faith is irrelevant”

Doubt is a vital and important part of developing the stability of faith. Without doubt, God becomes a concept only for the naive and the ignorant. Without doubt there would be no challenge to pursue truth. Without doubt we would believe every lie. There is an enemy of God out there, deceiving and lying, and as far as I can see, those who aren’t allowed to doubt, and aren’t allowed to question, end up  either accepting the concept of a God different to the One True God. Or they give up on God and try to get as far away from the notion of God entirely.

Once we begin to ask the right questions we can begin to piece together what makes sense to us, and that forms the foundation of our beliefs. Religion tells us to believe what we have been told no questions asked, but God wants us to ask and ask and ask. To never stop asking, never settle on a belief until we find the answers that match the still quiet voice of reason deep within our core.

Here is a place to start… Why would God want us to ask the hard questions instead of just simply believing what we have been told? – The answer is genuine connection and Love!

To prove that we are all made in God’s image He put the desire to be loved, not just the desire but the necessity. Not just to be loved but to connect on a deep level with something other than our own conscious ego. Because He is Love, because he wants to connect, He needs to connect.

Look at it this way, if you found someone you wanted to connect with, someone you wanted to love you, and you gave them a love potion. Sure enough you have their attention, their confessions of love, their attraction, their passion. Yet your trust, your connection, is not based on the genuine truth of their love, it is based on your trust of the potion.

This is why He wants us to question and to discover reasons that make sense to us to Love Him, to decide of our own free will to love, to connect, to trust, to revere. So that He can have trust in our love for Him. Then and only then is true unity, euphoric connection, ultimate fulfillment, possible for both us and for God!

Points to ponder….

*Truth can handle being reasonably investigated

*Lies are abundant and deception is rife

*Doubt is essential and discernment crucial

*God loves us and wants to connect with us

*Why not ask the tough questions

The scriptures say that God is Love. God is full of Truth. Let us not become naive about our beliefs, swallowing whole the lies of the enemy that seek to corrupt the virtue of God’s Love. Seek out the truth, discover what makes sense to you in your pursuit of God’s Love through His word, through a personal relationship with Him, questioning all who claim to understand Him. Its time we did away with these poisonous teachings of an abusive and unreasonable God, determined to send us to our unending torture, when the reality is that His love is the only way we can overcome all that seeks to destroy us. Lets no longer be like children who misunderstand the loving authority of their parents. Lets build a reasonable and rational foundation for our faith starting with the truth that God is Love!

study

14/04/2016

When Belief Becomes Arrogance

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 6:07 am by The Water Bearer

 

Those gifted with faith have always been in the enemy’s firing line, and it is very obvious when someone else persecutes you. But this blog has always been devoted to revealing the hidden enemy, the inner enemies. One area that has impressed itself on my heart recently is the fine line between certainty in faith and arrogance.

Beth Moore said this in a recent series “I don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but you may believe that I only think I know Christ. Let me assure you that I KNOW HIM, I may not have seen Him with my eyes, but every promise has been kept to heal my wounds into marks of Christ. I have a personal relationship with Him. No imaginary friend could have done all He has done for me.”

There is nothing else that compares to the feeling of being certain in faith. Those times when there is nothing anyone can say to make you doubt what you have experienced to be true.  Especially the times God has aligned numerous perfect signs, or given prophesies before they appear, or fulfilled promises when obedience brought them to reality. Certainty in faith like that can be the most wonderful experience known to mankind, and yet it is not without its potential drawbacks.

Inner Enemies seek to destroy all testimony of a loving God with us and in us, doing all they can to cause us to doubt God, to resist Him, to prevent us from having these experiences of certainty. Then, once we experience certainty in faith, they push us further into it. They empower ego and pride, conceit and prejudice. The weakness of our flesh is real, and the lies of the enemy are subtle enough that they are easy to believe. It could be as simple as wishing others believed us, and defending ourselves when they don’t. It could be that our experiences don’t line up with another’s so we may dismiss or doubt the beliefs of another. Inner Enemies attempt to weaken our self-awareness and corrupt our humility, or at the very worse end of the spectrum, may encourage the violent atrocities carried out across the world in the name of religion. Even the Enemies of God have learned how to imitate God so well that many are convinced of their certainty when it is in fact a counterfeit. Just another way to fill the world with confusion about the One True God.

Our desire to know all things is both our passion and our down fall, from the fruit to the future, human’s greed for understanding has been misleading the world. It has driven science to make adamant claims to have discovered a vital new piece of ‘truth’, only to realise much later how far from truth it was. It has driven Christians to divide up into various denominations, each one disputing the beliefs of the next, watering down the effectiveness of God’s message with each new dispute.

In order for us to stay on the fine line towards our Godly calling, my Dad used to explain it like tacking into the wind in sailing.

 

tacking

The Enemies attempt to push us off course, a slight nudge here and slight nudge there, knowing that even just a tiny deviation off course will end us up a long way from our calling. If the Enemies use doubt, guilt, and resistance to keep us on this side of the course we must tack towards the line by seeking out God’s word, God’s truth, building up and exercising our faith. Alternatively during those times we experience certainty in faith, the Enemies push us right over to the other side and use pride to attempt to convince us that there is no longer a need to change, not much more need for growth. Subtle lies that say we have grown enough and we know enough. One side of the course keeps us dull to insights and understanding, while the other pushes us into the arrogance of knowledge. All is a strategy to keep us from pursuing the truth in the word of God, and this is when many may start comparing sins and sinlessness, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It doesn’t take a genius to see that if radicals saw themselves as equal sinners there would be no one to judge, no one to condemn, no one to make an example of. Only Compassion and the Unity of a world full of sinners who ALL need a Saviour.

Self-awareness and a close relationship with God is the safest way to navigate the course to our destiny. Keeping our humility, recognising that we always have more to learn is vital if we are to tack back away from arrogance. An arrogant testimony is more likely to dissuade unity, and yet we must have confidence if our testimony is to carry any weight. In order to walk the fine line towards our destiny and give compelling testimony along the way, we must stay in the constant presence of God. I pray we all keep up our armour and keep vigilantly tacking against the winds of our Inner Enemies, until God’s purpose is reached in each of our lives.

humble

10/02/2015

Fear, Give Me More! I Can Take It!

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 3:40 pm by The Water Bearer

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You may read this post and not believe it. In fact I can hardly believe it myself but every word is true. The reason for such a lengthy gap between posts is because I was busy jumping off cliffs and bridges, flying in hot-air balloons and meeting the most amazing people and some incredible wildlife up close in Africa. ME? You ask? The one who writes about panic attacks and anxiety disorder! Yes ME!

I was invited to Africa on a family vacation, all expenses paid. Yep! So what do I say? Ummmm let me think about that while I swallow the lump of anxiety in my throat.. Of course not… I may have some crazy in my blood but I am not that crazy! I know an invitation into God’s will when I see one.

This is a trip my husband and MIL have wanted to take for as long as I have known them so it was always kind-of on the cards, but it’s not until you are actually applying for passports and getting your travel shots that you begin to accept the reality of such a task!

To cut a very long story short I had some Godly signs pointing to the bridge jump over the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. I knew I would be walking distance from this death defying treat whilst in Africa and told myself I would always regret it if I didn’t do it. God had something in store, I knew it! So I went….praying my backside off mind you.

The guys asked me to speak into the video camera before I jumped the 111m toward the river below, so I spoke clearly “Goodbye Anxiety, Goodbye Fear, Goodbye Panic Attacks, Goodbye Control, GOD HAS GOT ME, One one one!” (111 is my special Godly number). I had a 10 seconds free-fall before the rope caught me and swung me out across the gorge, and let me tell you it was incredible, empowering, freeing, and freaking insane! As I swung at the bottom of that rope, surrounded by nothing else but God’s stunning artwork, I sang….. I sang my heart out! “I sing because I am happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye in on the sparrow and I know He watches over me!”

I cried….. Tears of gratitude and joy. Tears of Love for my Heavenly Father who gave me the courage to face myself and my fears, to give total control to Him…. Africa was all about this awesome sense of gratitude!

When I got home to Australia I was telling this story to a friend, and his son. It was the first time I had met the son who was in his early 20’s. He heard me mention panic attacks and told me he used to have 5 panic attacks per day and wouldn’t leave his house. He told me the only way he learned to prevent these attacks was to demand more. Sounds strange I know, but it makes sense. If a panic attack is caused by fear of fear then by facing the fear head on you have only fear, not the fear of fear. By telling fear you know your body can handle your heart pounding, your body can handle uncontrollable tears, your body can handle sweating and dizziness, you begin accepting the fear, and you can’t really be afraid of something that you accept, something you know you are equipped to handle even if you pass out. You will wake up. Even if you cry your eyes out, you will not die from crying. Even if you need to change your underwear afterwards. You have more clean underwear somewhere. Do you hear me out there?!?!

This is exactly what I was doing when I jumped off that bridge, when I agreed to go to Africa at all! I decided that I may feel fear but my body can handle it. God made humans the most adaptable species on the planet, if we can only learn to accept what is happening around us, instead of fighting against it.

So I have tried this new technique a few times since I’ve been home. I tried it when I got cut off in traffic and wanted to snap angrily but decided I can handle people who cut in. Bring it on! I tried it when I felt a painful twang in my stomach and difficult memories of IBS came flooding back. Bring it on I told myself. I can handle this, I have survived this for a long time. When I’m excited by a group of people and begin to ramble nervously, just go with it I said to myself you’re not hurting anyone. God watches over me! He has got me! I can tell you in all honesty it all just fades away. Like it was never there! Amen!

I am yet to try it as the passenger to my learner driving daughter but I am feeling the triumph building within and I am very curious to see if I can ask for more fear whilst driving with her. I must try to tell myself that I may have been in a bad car accident before, but I can handle it! Bring it on!

I am not a thrill seeker, my jump was never about chasing the thrill. It was a leap of faith, a test of my trust! I am not now looking for fear but I am aware that it lurks around me trying to trip me up and this concept is to remind myself that I can take it when it comes! To challenge it to try its best because God has got me!

There are so many things I learned about myself and God whilst on this trip and I look forward to sharing more on here soon. I’m just excited to go live with this new self and really enjoy the changes God has brought about in me. Blessings to you all!

jump

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