Judgement

I get a little bothered when people talk about God’s judgement.  All the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and calamity that is occurring worldwide is God’s judgement upon us – I don’t think so!  This certainly does not fit into the character of the God I love and serve.

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“Hurricane Harvey is God’s judgement upon America!”  Not!  This simply rubs me the wrong way.  It’s just not biblical.  Why do people always say it’s God’s judgement from devastating fires to personal hardship?  Do we just not know our God well enough?

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Now Abraham, here is a man who knew His God!  God came down and told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin was so great,  there was an outcry calling for God’s judgement on the city.  Abraham was moved with compassion for the righteous that were left in Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking too of his nephew Lot, and he began to beseech to the Lord: “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked; far be it from You!  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”  Genesis 18:25.  Abraham knew that God is a righteous God, a just God, and would not punish the innocent the same way as the guilty!

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In the end there was only one righteous man in Sodom, and that was Lot.  Before the righteous judgement of God was rained down upon the city, the Lord led that one righteous man out.  “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

The word for right in the Hebrew is ‘mishpat’ which means; justice, act of deciding a case, right, proper or fitting.  Mishpat is used interchangeably throughout the Old Testament as justice or righteousness.  Micah 6:8, a well known verse, says: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly (mishpat), to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  The Lord requires you to do what is right!  Just as the Father is a righteous God and will always do what is right.

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I love the scripture in Psalm 33:4 that tells us, “For the Lord’s decrees are just and everything He does is fair.”  The New Testament goes on to tell us more about the judgement of God.  Acts 17:31 says, “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  There will be a day of judgement and God will judge the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.  God the Father himself will not be the one who judges mankind, but the Son himself.  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement to the Son.”  John 5:22.  These are the words of Jesus himself.

When Jesus hung upon that cross, dying that painful death for all mankind, the full wrath of God was poured out upon Him.  He took our punishment, God’s judgement was spilled upon Him for you and for me, once and for all, and now we stand righteous through Christ.  If we believe that our Father pours out judgement and wrath upon us in the form of disasters and terrifying tragedies, then are we believing that He did not pour out His full judgement upon His Son, wouldn’t that negate the cross?  Would this not detract from the full miracle of Christ dying for us, of God’s judgement and wrath poured out on the Son, so that on the appointed day of judgement we can stand clean before the Lord, washed white in the blood of the Lamb?  

Do we run the risk of looking at the great sin of the world and thinking, “if I was God I would visit my anger upon them?”  In turn justifying that this must be what God is doing…  We become the judge of the sin in this world and consider our anger righteous.  God’s word says, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Let’s become people who speak less and listen more.  Let us hear the pain of those dying and not condemn them to our judgement.  Let’s rejoice in the character of Almighty God who is all at once righteous, fair , good and kind.  Who has made a way for us, so that we don’t have to come under the wrath and judgement of God.

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Abundance

 

In John 10:10 we read the words of Jesus; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   What is it that Jesus wants to give us that the enemy so desperately wants to steal?  Jesus wants to give us life and life abundantly! This abundant life is certainly not about more stuff, more attention, more power or more thrills.  Those are just distractions, a carnal definition of the abundant life!

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King Solomon, in all his wisdom, said it this way; “So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.  Also my wisdom remained with me.  Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my reward from my labor.  I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”  Eccl 2:9-11  All was vanity, and Solomon had it all but soon discovered, this was not the abundant life.

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Abundant life in Christ is, the surety of our salvation, freedom from death, freedom from fear, freedom from prejudice, freedom from the one who would whisper in your ear and steal your joy.  It is beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, it is love, joy, and peace – oodles of it!  Patience! Kindness and gentleness in abundance.  All. The. Time.  Not just when things are going well.  In abundance.  

 

The Greek word for abundance is ‘perrissos’ meaning, exceeding some measure or number, over and above, more than is necessary, superadded, extraordinary, surpassing, more remarkable and more excellent.  Your God wants you to live a remarkable and excellent life!  He wants to give you an extraordinary life that surpasses all your expectations!  Doesn’t His Word say; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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When you look deeper at the word for abundance, what you find will astound you!  The root word for abundance is ‘piero’, meaning to pierce.  That stopped me in my tracks, overwhelming me, bringing tears to my eyes.  Jesus, the Son of God, was pierced for me, over and over again.  Pierced as that whip bit into his flesh, pierced as they hammered those nails into his beautiful feet and loving hands.  Pierced as they stabbed a sword into His side.  At any time He could simply have stepped off that cross, after all, He is God.  But His love for you kept Him there, he went over and above, surpassing what was necessary, so that you could have an abundant life!  Now that is abundant love!  Going exceedingly beyond, for you.  Extraordinary!

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This is the life He wants to give you, in abundance.  Without Christ, life has no meaning, there is no abundant life.  

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Uproot the Squatters

Joshua 6:20 says, “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in and they took the city.”

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Can you imagine the Israelite army being given this absurd order to march around the mighty city of Jericho without saying a word? I wonder what was going through their heads… For some, it was probably, “This is silly,” or “I feel stupid.” But for others, it was certainly, “We are going to do this! We are going to take this city!” The more they walked, the more their confidence grew. Perhaps some of them, looking forward to that final day, were thinking, “I’m going to be loud, so LOUD!” Faith was stirring within their hearts, and the expectation that God was going to do something great was getting bigger and bigger.pexels-photo-157534

Imagine for a moment the sound of the trumpets and that huge, loud roar going up from the army on that final day. The volume of noise coming from thousands and thousands of men must have been so loud and intense that it shook the very ground they were walking on. The New King James Bible tells us, at that loud shout, the walls fell down flat! Walls that had seemed high and insurmountable flattened at one loud shout! The Israeli army totally destroyed Jericho, nothing was left.

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The Canaanites that lived in Jericho would have been a serious threat to Israel’s spiritual welfare. They were steeped in idolatry and immorality. They were squatters in the Promised Land! They didn’t belong. I know that in my own life and the lives of many, there are Jerichos that are holding us back. Huge walls that may seem insurmountable, chains that seem too big to be broken. With God fighting our battles, every single one of those Jerichos will fall! What is it that is holding us back? Let’s uproot those squatters. The Promised Land is worth it!

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This entry was posted on June 3, 2017. 2 Comments

Rising Up Again and Again!

At the end of 2016 I felt the Lord begin to whisper the words “Rise Up” into my spirit, along with the scripture from Psalms 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts my head.”  I knew right then and there that these would be my words for 2017.  It was time for me to Rise Up and I knew the Father was right – I couldn’t live in the sadness of the past 5 years any longer, I had to do something about it and it was up to me.  I could continue to sit in darkness or I could Rise Up and let the Lord light my way!

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At first I couldn’t see how Psalms 3:3 and the words “Rise Up” were connected until I started to dig.  Then I got excited!  Lifter is ‘ruwn’ in Hebrew and means; to rise, be high, be exalted, to be set on high or to cause to grow up.’  Perhaps in my 50th year it was indeed time for me to ‘grow up’!  I love the definition too; to make louder, to take plants out of the ground for transplanting or harvesting and to move your head or eyes up so that you can see something!

When we are in despair, depression, or grief our eyes are cast down, not only our head but our hearts hang down.  It feels as if everything aches and is oh so heavy.  BUT GOD will lift our heads, He WILL BE our glory and cause us to RISE UP and rejoice!  Our Father will not force our head up – as He gently places His hand under our chin, we have to raise our heads, we have to engage the muscles in our neck and move!  There is action required on our part!

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Early in the New Year I heard a scripture from Micah 7:8 that just exploded in my heart!  “Do NOT gloat over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.”  There was absolutely NO WAY I was going to let the enemy gloat over me!  I have sat in darkness for far too long.

The word rise in the Hebrew is ‘quwn’ – to become powerful, to stand, to be established, to be fixed, to be proven, to be fulfilled.  It was now my time to rise, to stand and become powerful and if I fall again to rise quickly!

When Hannah was a baby I remember when she began learning to walk.  She would take a few steps and her chubby little legs would collapse underneath her.  Sometimes she would bang herself as she fell and she would sit and cry.   I would pick her up in my arms, kiss her better and plop her back down.  Up she would get and take a few more steps – she never gave up, she would rise up every single time!  Now she is 17 and a beautiful dancer who jumps and leaps and spins on the very tips of her tiny toes.  I’m sure she falls sometimes when learning something new, but that will never stop her from getting up and trying again.  

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Psalm 37:24 says “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  No matter how many times we fall we shall not fall below the supporting hand of God.  God will always be there to pick you up, dust you off, kiss you better and then plop you back down to try again!  He knows that eventually you will not just rise but you will soar and dance because He knows the end from the beginning!  Never once did I worry or fret that my child would not get up again and neither does God – He KNOWS you will!  It’s just a matter of when, and He will be cheering you on every step of the way, just as I have for my Hannah.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2017. 6 Comments

Rise Up!

This is for both my beautiful friend Linda Bishop and myself as we Rise Up in 2017 together!  Love you so much my friend!

So dark.  So completely black.  Sitting on the floor I pulled my knees up to my chest and rocked back and forth.  Tears wet my cheeks and it seemed as though deep darkness slid over me like a black cloak.  My heart ached within me, anguish so deep I feared I would drown in this sea of murky, dark misery.  The “what ifs” and “should haves” of my past clamored through my head all shouting for attention and another thick sob rose in my throat.  Somewhere in the foggy background I could hear the snicker of the enemy planting malignant thoughts in my mind; “Where is your God?!  You’ll never amount to anything!  You’re pathetic, a loser!  You’ve been deserted.  You’re all alone in the quicksand of your sorrow and you’ll never get up!”  The gloating of the enemy grew in intensity drowning out any other sound.

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I opened my swollen eyes and squinted in the blackness.  There at the very edge of my vision was a tiny, pin prick of light.  Hope!  A tiny fragment of hope!  As I watched it seemed to be growing brighter. “Impossible,” I thought and rubbed my smarting eyes with my fists.  “NO,” yelled the enemy, “there is NO hope!”  “But I think there is,” I replied with a smile.

As I made that tiny declaration of faith, smaller than any tiny mustard seed, hope flooded in like a freight train!  Light illuminated every crack, every hole and every crevice of the room, soaking through my skin and trickling into my heart.  Warmth thawed out all the ice that had frozen like crystals in my soul.  New tears began to rush down my cheeks.  Good tears.  Tears of rejoicing.  Tears of relief and the knowledge that my day of restoration was upon me.  I felt the Spirit of the Lord filling the space all about me, the thickness of His weighty presence upon me.

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Then I heard His voice.  I heard His voice!  “I am a shield about you protecting you from the terror of night and the arrow that flies by day.  I am your rock and your deliverer, trust me! I will hear you when you call to me and be your salvation and refuge.  My word will be a lamp unto your feet, it will light up the path that you should walk on and show you where to go next.  I shall lift up your head above your enemies and cause your heart to sing.  I will be your everlasting light and bestow on you favor and honor, for you are set apart for me! Now is the time for you to rise up and shine, for your light has come.  The shining greatness of the Lord has risen upon you.  For see, darkness will cover the earth but I will rise upon you and my shining greatness will be seen upon you.  Nations will come to your light.  And Kings will see the shining greatness of the Lord on you!  Lift up your eyes and look around you and see.  They all gather together, they come to you.  Your sons will come from far away and your daughters will be carried in the arms.  Then you will see and shine with joy!  Rise Up, this matter is in your hands.  So take courage and do it!

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My eyes snapped open and with new resolve I began to lift my head.  It was easy! The power of the living God was shooting through my veins, running through my spirit!  I stood to my feet and threw my arms wide open taking in deep breaths of sparkling light.  I felt giddy, light headed even and began to spin in a circle like a child.  Laughter rose up within me, joy began to flow from my head to my toes.  With an exuberant shout I yelled; “DO NOT gloat over me anymore my enemy, when I fall I SHALL rise, when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me!”

 

Psalm 3:3 – But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. Micah 7:8 – Do not gloat over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.  Other scriptures used – Ps 84:11, Ps 18:2, Ps 4:3, Ezra 10:4, Ps 91:5

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2017. 1 Comment

Angel Gossip!

If you’re reading this then this is all about you (even though it’s about me too!).

Did you know that there is a whisper going on in heaven, a rustling among the angels? The word is out on the golden streets and rumours are being circulated from angel to angel. There is a definite buzz in the heavens today and the news is spreading like wildfire! Where did the word begin I wonder? Who is it that all the angels are whispering about??


Oh my! They’re talking about me! They say the King of kings told them, Jesus! They say they saw Him rejoicing, He was dancing with joy, He couldn’t stop talking about ME!! What did He say I ask?“Jesus said that you are beautiful, totally perfect for Him, that you are lovely. Oh and He said that when you sing to Him, His heart starts to beat faster with an overwhelming love for you. He told us that He cannot stop thinking about you, day and night, night and day YOU are on His mind!” I couldn’t believe it, Jesus said that…… about me?! Are you sure it was me that He was talking about? After all, this is Jesus we’re talking about! The Beautiful Saviour, the Glorious Lord!

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“That’s not all He said,” the angels whispered, “Listen to this! Jesus told us that you are the one He wants to be with forever, you are His bride and He is your bridegroom. He says He has so much He wants to tell you, things He has never told anyone else, deep secrets, the secrets of His heart and He won’t tell anyone else, only you, because He loves you. He told us that He has so much for you, so much for you to do together, places to go to, exciting plans. He told us that He has blessings for you, gifts! Surprises around every corner! Flowers, sunny days, rainbows, colours, perfume, everything He can think of just to enchant you! He tells us He loves it when you laugh and clap your hands with delight when He blesses you. Then He told us that He simply loves to watch you, He is enthralled by you, He said you have the most beautiful smile, contagious laugh, you are just lovely.It’s funny,” the angels said, “He just can’t stop telling us about you…… I think He must be in love!”

As a bridegroom rejoices over His bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

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This entry was posted on January 3, 2017. 6 Comments

Crossing Your Jordan

Sitting in the hot sun I gazed at the Jordan River.  A raging river, overflowing its banks.  It looked angry to me, the current was strong, branches that had fallen off trees rushed past me.  I shook my head, raging wasn’t even the word for this river!  Terrible.  Violent.  Uncontrollable.  It was a furious torrent of death.  A couple of children raced past me, their giggles rising on the hot, humid air.  I squinted up at the sun and shook my head again.  Impossible – absolutely impossible.  I was very curious to see how the Great I Am was going to pull this one off!

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I pondered the many reasons that were against this working, over a million Israelites, children, belongings.  It certainly wasn’t a river we were all going to swim across!  Absently I chewed on a blade of grass and thought about the stories my Father had told me, miracles that had happened when Moses was still alive.  I smiled as I thought of my favourite – Moses stretching out his staff over the waters of Egypt and causing a plague of frogs to occur!  Now that would have been a sight to see!  Then there was darkness.  The death of the first-born and Passover which was my favourite feast.  The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!  Manna sent from heaven and water flowing from the rocks!!  And of course the awesome parting of the Red Sea as the Israelites were chased by the Egyptians!  But that was in the time of Moses and there was no-one pursuing us now.  Joshua was asking all of Israel to cross this raging river and enter into hostile territory.  I’d heard the report of fortified cities, armies and chariots would face us, Canaanite, Hittite and Hivites!  I stood up and shook my robe decisively, well we were Israelites and there was nothing soft about us!

 

Sparks rose from a thousand camp fires on the edge of the Jordan.  Every person washed and sanctified.  Every person having separated themselves from their sin and fixing their eyes totally on God.  The intensity was extreme and expectation was evident!  All thoughts were on the impossibility of the situation, but faith was detectable.  Faith in the unseen God.  Faith in the One who had sustained us for 40 long years!  How would God move this obstacle and take us into our promised land?  I tapped my foot impatiently in the dust and fiddled with the strap on my sandal for the 100th time.  There was no way I was going to get a wink of sleep tonight.  Excited just didn’t cover it!  I was stirred up, worked up, wired up and fired up!  I was literally beside myself.  The knowledge that I would see God move tomorrow was almost more than I could handle.  A miracle!  God’s hand touching earth!  Finally.  The promised land.  A land where it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes!  A land that flowed with milk and honey, pomegranates and figs.  My eyelids grew heavy and I stretched out on the grass with my head on a rock, visions of watermelons and skins of deep, red wine filled my head until sleep overcame me.

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The sound of shofars, trumpets and shouting filled the air and I leapt to my feet.  Surely I didn’t fall asleep?  Did I miss something?  Everywhere I looked the children of Israel were breaking up camp and packing things away.  I felt a small hand slip into mine and looked down into the liquid, brown eyes of my sweet nephew.  “You’re not afraid are you Hanoch?” I asked.  Solemnly Hanoch nodded his head and a dark curl fell forward into his eyes.  Absent-mindedly I smoothed the dark curl back into place.  “Don’t be.” I said smiling.  “Today will be one of the greatest days of your life!  It is a day that will be marked down in the history books.  One that you shall tell your children about!”  Hanoch giggled at the thought that he might ever have children!  “It is a great day for the Great I Am to show His mighty power, a great day for unbelievable miracles.  Today you will see His divine splendor, you will marvel at His wondrous works, and we shall all do this together!”  Squeezing his hand, I said, “Are you ready?”  Hanoch nodded his head emphatically, “then off we go!”

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Together we stepped forward with thousands of others and walked to the banks of the raging, rushing Jordan.  Doubts swirled through my mind but I chased them away with one deep breath.  My God would come through; my God would take me to the other side.  Elohim was the living God, the God of gods, the God of power and might!

 

A deep silence came upon the crowd and I quickly hushed Hanoch’s enthusiastic chatter.  The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth.  Resplendent in rich gold.  The sun showing off its glorious brilliance.  So incredibly bright that I was almost blinded.  The sculpted cherubs faced each other across the mercy-seat and I could have sworn I saw the fire of God’s shekinah glory!  I quickly lowered my eyes remembering the holiness of the Ark and the warning never to look in an inappropriate way at the Ark.  It could result in my death!

 

The children of Israel watched in anticipation as the priests walked towards the flooding, raging Jordan River.  Surely this would be the end of them?  They would drown in this torrent of water and the Ark of the Covenant would be lost with them!  I literally held my breath and watched as every step brought them closer to destruction.  What faith!  What conviction!  My amazement overtook my excitement as I watched the surety of every priest that the Great I Am would deliver them!  Oh that my faith would even be half as strong as theirs!

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Finally they reached the edge of the Jordan and with one bold, sure splash the first priest stepped into the water!  My heart was pounding hard within my chest and Hanoch slipped his hand out of mine as I had been squeezing it so tight.  The ground began to shake, it seemed as if the very air itself was shuddering and a loud thunderous noise began to build in intensity.  What was happening?  Why was the earth quaking?  Was this the end for us, had the Great I Am decided to wipe us all out because of our great grumbling and complaining?!  But the priests kept moving forward, sure of their quest.  I gasped as I watched the Jordan River begin to dry up right before my very eyes.  The torrent became a river, the river became a stream and the stream became a trickle!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There in the middle of the Jordan stood the Ark of the Covenant.  Overcoming this almighty torrent of death!  Reducing it to nothing but dirt.  Death defeated by the mighty hand of the Great I Am!  Later I learned that the mighty Jordan had been stopped up at Adam where it had piled up in a huge heap.  How fitting that it had stopped at Adam where sin had begun!

 

I almost fell to my knees at this incredible display of God’s power, but Hanoch grabbed my hand and pulled on it impatiently.  Joyfully I laughed, my lungs already filled with freedom.  This was it!  The promised land!  All we had to do was crossover, the Great I Am would do the rest!

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2016. 1 Comment