Faith

Do you need a Miracle? Read this.

14 May, 2015
IMG_0013.JPG

You go to the doctor. Bad news. Have further tests. Bad news. Switch on the television. Bad news. Talk with your neighbour. Bad news. Everywhere you seem to go. Bad news.

Today, I have good news. The Gospel is good news and as followers of Christ, we have good news stories.

I am the first person to tell you the Word of God trumps personal testimony. Every. Single. Time. You don’t believe the stories, you believe His promises. That is how the walk of faith works.

But we also find verses in the Bible that say:

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11a)

And:

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. (Psalm 103:2)

So in a world where bad news reigns supreme, I want to share a good news story with you. The Lord has done great things. As I glorify Him in sharing the good news, be reminded He is a miracle-working God. If you need a miracle, Jesus will give it to you.

I was born to a sick mum. A very sick mum. She had a disease called bronchiectasis. It is a disease of the lung and thirty years ago she was told she would die from it before she turned forty. Doctors operated on her left lung when she was seventeen but the operation did not rid her body of bronchiectasis. Instead it gave her chronic pluracy (pain every time she drew a breath) and she coughed up blood daily.

Daily.

So it was normal for me to find tissues beside her bed with blood in them. It was normal for me to sit in waiting rooms while my mother saw the physio or doctor. It was normal if my mother to struggled to breathe.

I don’t remember when she was healed. I don’t remember her coming home from a healing crusade breathing without pain and no longer coughing up blood. I don’t remember her stopping all her medication because she didn’t need it any more. It happened. I don’t remember it.

But I remember the second time she was healed. I remember a healing evangelist coming to our church. He asked people to stand if they wanted God to continue a healing in their body. Mum stood, placed her hand on her heart and agreed in prayer that God would continue her healing.

Then I remember going home. And I remember hearing my mum laugh because my father tickled her. I remember being called into their bedroom.

In their bedroom I heard that at seventeen mum had an operation. In the operation doctors cut her nerves and she couldn’t feel down the left side of her back. I heard the doctors pulled out one of her ribs so they could access her lung and they never put the rib back. As a result of the operation her left lung was small and her right lung and heart were enlarged.

In the bedroom, my mother felt my father tickle her on her left side. She had no feeling down the left side of her back since the operation. She could feel down her left side that day.

We then counted the number of ribs she had on her right side.

We counted the number of ribs on her left side.

It was the same.

The same.

God gave my mother a new rib. 

We sat on my parent’s king size bed dumbfounded. God performed a creative miracle in mum’s body. He took away the pain, medication, and illness, but didn’t stop there. He completely restored everything bronchiectasis had stolen – including nerves and bones.

Today she has no trace of bronchiectasis and her chest X-ray is exactly the same as mine – lungs, heart, ribs and all.

“I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

If you require healing in your body, all you have to do is believe. Like my mother did all those years ago, place your hand on your heart and ask God to begin or continue a healing in you. Comment, or for subscribers, reply to the email and I will believe in faith with your for healing and restoration of all sickness has stolen from your life.

Jesus is your healer. He is a miracle worker. What He did for my mother, He will do for you.

Grace, Holiday

Because Mummy isn’t God

7 May, 2015
IMG_0007.JPG

When you think about it, motherhood is easy. Washing clothes, cleaning up, changing nappies, driving from one extra-curricular activity to another, cooking tasty and nutritious meals – it’s not rocket science. There’s nothing hard about being a mother.

What makes it hard is the pressure. The pressure not to fail. I’m not talking about looking good in front of your child’s friends or preparing a dinner they will eat, I’m talking about not failing them – your flesh and blood; the children of your womb. Of all the people in the world, you don’t want to fail them – the ones you love for dear life itself.

But you do. I do. We all do. We fail our children.

And that’s what makes motherhood hard. Dealing with not being the perfect mother.

I yell. I lose my patience. I forget to buy the muesli bars he likes. I feed him too much sugar. I forget to wash his favourite shirt. I forget to iron his favourite shirt. And when he complains I yell some more because I feel guilty. Guilty I missed it, guilty I yelled, guilty I am not the perfect mum.

Epic fail.

Being the perfect mother would make mothering easy. I could fail in every other endeavour, but if I never let my children down, I would be happy.

This Mother’s Day my wish is to be the perfect mum. You know, the mum who looks like a glamazon, cooks like a Masterchef, styles her home like a magazine editor, and never, ever yells at her highly intelligent and angelic offspring – the perfect mum. Because somewhere in my mind, I believe she is the woman my children need, and I fall very short.

Sorry kids, Mummy isn’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. Deal with it. 

And they do. 

They actually do remarkably well. They bounce back. They forgive.

And it makes them better children. Better people.

Because Mummy isn’t God.

Mother, you do an incredible job, but you won’t get it right all of the time. You will fail your children. Let it go. Apologise. Learn. Grow. 

Don’t beat yourself up.

You aren’t the perfect mother. No one is. You aren’t God. He is. You cannot be God to your children. You will let them down, because if you didn’t, they would trust you more than they trust God. You don’t want that.

This Mother’s Day, and everyday forward, give yourself permission to fail. It’s okay. 

You will fail your children, but He won’t. Because He alone is God.

Isaiah 49:15-16 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…

Happy Mother’s Day.

Faith

Crossing Jordan – A Special Announcement

30 April, 2015
IMG_0009.JPG

The Jordan river laps my toes. The time has come.

We are crossing over.

…The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is time for me to take my place in the history of the world. Time for me to lead. To enter the Promised Land. And make it ours.

It is not often I write something personal on this blog. It is my heart that I write fresh revelation from Him – through me, to you. So I don’t tell anecdotes about the night my son shoved Lego up his nose or my many laundry blunders. While it would make for entertaining reading, it is not what I am called to write or why you are here.

But today I write something personal. 

Almost twenty years ago my parents felt called to plant a church in Browns Plains, an outer suburb of Brisbane. They put no pressure on me to join them but I did, and life was never the same.

I was not the kind of person who grew up wanting to be in ministry but somehow ministry found me. Shortly after the church opened I pioneered a youth program reaching unchurched teenagers in the community. I faithfully served God and my parents, despite being single and female. [You can read more of my story in Single Christian Female.] 

From youth pastor I also took on children’s ministry and then the role as associate pastor. My husband, Ben, and I crossed paths in 2006 while on a missions trip to China. [You can read that story when I release Married Christian Female.] We got married and began ministering and growing together.

For a few years we have known this was coming. The church was told we were in transition and preparations were being made. Now the transition is over. I am excited and overwhelmed.

This Sunday my husband and I become Senior Pastors of Plains Christian Church. My heart is bursting with pride and anticipation.

Browns Plains isn’t glamorous, neither is pastoring, but you know what? This is my promised land. I feel as though I stand at the Jordan River ready to cross over. Ready to take on the giants. Ready to tear down walls. 

Like Joshua, I have wandered in the desert at times. There have been highs, lows, and moments where I questioned God and wanted to give up. But God never told me to go back, only move forward. 

And now it is time to take possession of our promise.

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. (Joshua 5:15)

Ben and I have a great sense of what is to come. We are on holy ground. God is about to do something great as we step into our calling. I catch my breath at the thought. It is going to be incredible. 
But the reason I share this with you is not to gloat. Many of you are wandering in the wilderness; a dry and thirsty land with no end in sight. Don’t lose hope. Your time will come. He who promised is faithful. You will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. Your promise will come. And what a glorious day it will be.

I want you to know dreams come true. I want you to know my heart is fully invested. I do not accept the position lightly. A great responsibility rests on my shoulders. But it feels easy. Not because I am capable. I feel completely out of my depth. Yet I do not blaze this trail alone. I know Jesus is with me, as He was with my parents. I am strong and courageous. The Lord will not fail or abandon me.

This post is like my twelve memorial stones. It is a testimony of my thoughts and feelings. But most importantly it is a sign of the greatness of God. He is faithful. He is good. He will do what He promised.

Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96:4)

Thank you for being here and reading my words. I treasure every one of you and look forward to sharing greater insights from this season with you.

Faith

Don’t Turn Back Now

24 April, 2015
IMG_0003.JPG

The road ahead seems daunting. Uncharted territory. Part of me feels ill equipped, yet on the other hand, I have waited for this all my life. All the pain, all the discomfort, all the disappointments, all the victories, have prepared me, shaped me, sharpened me for this moment. 

I have only ever known wandering. Forty years of wandering through the desert. Journeying toward a four-hundred-year-old promise with a generation of doubtful, discouraged people. A people who refused to believe. Life hasn’t been easy, but if the Lord provided manna which sustained us, water from a rock, and clothes that never wore thin, His promise will be fulfilled. He is God and He is good. 

Joshua 1:2 …The time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 

“The time has come for you,” continues to ring in my ears. This is my time. This is the mark I will make on the world. This is my legacy: to lay hold of the Promised Land. I cannot breathe for the excitement that burns in my soul.

I will not fear. I will not be discouraged. Now is the time to move forward. The time to fight. To do what I was born to do – enter the Promised Land. And possess it for generations to come.

There are giants and fortified cities. The land is vast and the battles will be many. But the Lord will go with me and fight for me. He will be with me. His face shines upon me. The Lord will give me peace.
I cannot hold on to the past. I am strong. I am courageous in the face of the unknown. Because I believe the promise. I believe the Lord.

Child of God, the time has come for you. Life has its disappointments, but you are bigger than that. This is your time. Gasp hold of His promises. Be strong. Be courageous. Go up into the land and possess it.

Motivation

Don’t Disqualify Yourself from the Good Life

16 April, 2015
image

Swimming is a popular sport in Australia. Our weather and amazing coastline mean children are taught to swim as toddlers.

For those who wish to become elite, the road to swimming glory is not easy. Early morning training sessions, long black line lap after lap, no sound, no companions – a lonely sport.

Swimmers train day in day out for the ultimate glory – Olympic gold. They push the limits to make the team, heats, and final, giving their all in a chance for gold.

At the last Olympic Games in London, there was a massive upset in the pool. South Korean 400m swimmer, Park Tae-hwan, was disqualified by a referee in his heat for a false start. With that decision he was disqualified from the chance of defending his Olympic title; disqualified from the elation of another Olympic gold medal. Four years of sacrifice, pain and hard work snatched from his grasp.

After much deliberation it was found that Park Tae-hwan did not false start. The referee’s decision was overruled and he was able to swim the final that evening.

Like FINA, God is in the business of overruling disqualifications. Because of Jesus, you are not disqualified from the pleasures of life. As His child you are entitled to live life to the full.

Genesis 18:12 So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”

Sarah was almost ninety and barren. She had not experienced the pleasure of raising a child. When El Shaddai told her husband she would give birth to a child she felt age disqualified her from experiencing such pleasure.

Age did not disqualify Sarah from experiencing pleasure; she gave birth to a son, Isaac. And age does not disqualify you. [FYI: I published an article on Crosswalk about my recent milestone of turning forty. I talk about age stereotypes, and what the Bible has to say. I think you’ll like it.]

You may be comfortable with your age, but perhaps other matters hold you back. Do sins of the past, divorce, sickness or family history disqualify you from an amazing life?

They do not.

Divorce does not disqualify you from the pleasure of a good second marriage. 

Diagnosed depression does not disqualify you from a happy life. 

Mistakes from the past do not disqualify you from experiencing the life God designed. 

Transgressions of your family do not disqualify you from future blessing.

Jesus bore the sin; you don’t have to. Release it. Father created you to experience pleasure. There are greater promises and pleasures for you. God has blessing, not sorrow, in store (Proverbs 10:22). A life lived with Him is loaded with benefits (Psalm 103:2). His love and mercy have no expiry date (Psalm 136:1).

You did not false start. You did not drop the baton. The Cross overruled your disqualification. Don’t disqualify yourself. Experience His pleasure. Because of Jesus, you deserve it.

Lifestyle

Is Pleasure a Sin?

9 April, 2015
IMG_1244.JPG

Let’s talk about food.

Chocolate.

Cheesecake.

Pizza.

Sushi.

Roast.

Ice cream.

I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating. 

Have you eaten a meal with a bad cold? A really bad cold? Where your nose is red, eyes are swollen and tastebuds have taken a hike? Feasting on a meal isn’t the same is it? Who feels like eating when you can’t taste anything?

I guess that’s how Sarah Mae was feeling over at (in)courage. For Sarah, a cold put a temporary end to the wonder of food and she wrote a blog post about it. She said:

Through my experience, I realized that food is not a gift. The taste of food is the gift, and the pleasure we receive from it.

It got me thinking.

We need food to live. But we don’t need it to be tasty. So why did God gift us with a sense of taste?

Because He wants humans to experience pleasure.

Humans don’t need the sense of taste. We could survive without it. But life would be bland. In this simple and unnoticeable way, God demonstrated He designed us for pleasure – ours and His.

Now I’m going to write something radical: God wants you to feel pleasure.

Don’t look sideways, blush and close your laptop. He does. He wants you to feel pleasure. If He didn’t He would not have created the sense of taste.

Pleasure is not sinful. Sometimes Christians believe pleasure to be sin, so they shy away from it and settle for a dull and boring life. Pleasure is from God. It is good. You are allowed to feel it. Several times a day. Even all the time.

Life can be overwhelming and sometimes it just plain stinks – like the head cold from hell. But just because you have temporarily lost your sense of taste, does not mean God has changed and pleasure vanished. He is still good. He has blessings for you. He wants you to feel pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 

Enjoy life. Pleasure is from the hand of God. Feel it. Embrace it. Do something you enjoy. Go shopping. Eat ice cream. Dance the night away. Pleasure is not wrong. Because when you experience pleasure, you experience it with Him. Now that’s a beautiful revelation.

Pleasure; it’s what you were created for. Experience it.