The times of the signs

blood_moon_8-10-14

The second moon of the Tetrad, 8th Oct 2014

Last night we in New Zealand witnessed the second blood moon of the Tetrad, where four total lunar eclipses occur in a row six months apart.

When Jesus was asked about the signs that would precede His return He said there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  (Luke 21:25).  We have now entered the times of the signs.  So look up!  But more importantly, when you look up, what do you SEE?

A lot of people know the signs are significant.  Have you done any star-gazing while looking through the Bible, to try to understand what we might be witnessing?  I’ll be writing about what I see in those signs when I have some time on the weekend.

In the meantime, here is last night’s blood moon on our news.
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/pictures-blood-moon-lights-up-nz-sky-6101798

Flying blind?

777Come fly with me.  I have a clip below called “This is why we fly” – featuring the song “Paradise” by Coldplay. 

It shows the view from the cockpit of a plane flying over the Southern Alps, coming into Queenstown NZ.

Above the clouds, the Morning Star can be seen.  The Morning Star reminds me of Jesus, who said of Himself;
“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

The Maori name for New Zealand is ‘Aotearoa’, meaning “land of the long white cloud”.

Winter view over Queenstown from Bob's Peak

Queenstown, NZ

Feeling under a cloud? 
The plane dives into the long white cloud on it’s approach to Queenstown.  Now all we can see is dense cloud.  Surrounded by unseen mountains, it’s time for faith.

Flying blind?
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 
Isaiah 50:10

Jesus is like the pilot, and God is like the control tower.

When you can’t see where you are going it’s best to respect the terrain and hand yourself over to the Lord’s guidance.  Respect Him, trust Him and do what He says.

Above the clouds, the morning star shines its light as the sun touches the mountain peaks.  It hasn’t gone away.

In the midst of the clouds, contact is established with air traffic control.

Flying heavy?

‘Life goes on It gets so heavy
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear, a waterfall
In the night, the stormy night
She closed her eyes
In the night, the stormy night
Away she’d fly’
– Paradise, by Coldplay.

The term Heavy is applied to all radio transmissions with air traffic control from aircraft capable of take-off weights of 300,000 pounds or more.

God knows the weight you are carrying.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Here's the clip "This is why we fly". Enjoy.

Paradise

New Zealand is like Paradise, but pales in comparison to Heaven.  Do you know that Paradise is still there, with the tree of life?  Jesus has made the way home to God for all lost children of Adam who believe Him.  Do you know the way to Paradise?  If you trust Jesus for your eternal life He will get you there.  Jesus promised the thief that put his faith in Him; “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:43. 

To the overcomer Jesus says;
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”
Revelation 2:7.

Kingdom dreams and discernment

God_is_talkingMy Moslem friend Ishmael wanted to know how I could hear God.  I tried to explain that I could hear God through the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent us at Pentecost, in fulfillment of the promise He made;
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever– the Spirit of truth”.  John 14:16

He, the Holy Spirit was an alien concept for Ishmael …
“The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:17

Unfortunately I was unable to convince Ishmael, who believed my book (the Bible) had been changed.  A God who seeks us out and speaks to us was outside his paradigm.  As for me, a God who doesn’t speak to us is a lifeless idol.  I have found that when the Holy Spirit speaks, He always agrees with the word, the Bible, and He always confirms what is heard.

How can God speak to us if we don’t read the Bible?  He has to resort to signs and speaking through other people.  He wants us to do more than hear about Him, He wants us to hear from Him.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word”.  Romans 10:17.  The more the Bible is read, the more the Lord can say.  Faith grows.  Relationship grows.

joel 2_28 wallpaperIn the last days God promised He would pour out His Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:28 and Acts 2. 

With that, we have to test the spirits;
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.   1 John 4:1

We were at a church where the Pastors followed the Lakeland revival without checking it against scripture.  Anyone who disagreed with it was a “Pharisee”.  My husband and I tested the spirit and didn’t buy into it.  We were going over to Florida anyway to see family, and promised our friends in the church that we’d check the revival out while over there.

So we went to Lakeland one hot August night in 2008 with my husband’s Uncle and Aunt, and found we were right about the false prophets.  Todd Bentley wasn’t there, he’d been made to leave the week before after having an affair with an intern.  That didn’t mean the Lord hadn’t been active in Lakeland, I know God would have had mercy on the hungry and needy folk who had gone there.  Still it wasn’t a good look.  It misrepresented Jesus, and caused a lot of confusion for churches like the one we attended.  We have been wary of this sort of thing ever since.

We went to the Assemblies of God site to see if they had a statement about the revival.  They did.  Is Jesus Christ exalted, and is the Word of God proclaimed?  “The Holy Spirit to a mighty river, and the Scriptures to the banks of that river. Great harm occurs when the river overruns the banks, but that river does great good when it stays within the banks.”  – AG Statement on Revival.

If we dream a prophetic dream, what does it say in context with his word?  Anything else is slumber.  It’s time for us to awaken from our slumber, and show our Master we are waiting for His return.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.  Luke 12:35-38

While we are watching and waiting for our master’s return, the world is watching us.  We are ambassadors for the King.  I talked in an earlier post about the two commandments Jesus gave us, to love the Lord our God and love our neighbour.  What would the world look like if we all did this I asked?

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 

CatsLet us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Romans 13:9-14

Next time Jesus comes, He will be coming in power.  The Lion of Judah is not a tame lion.  Have you ever seen the movie about Christian the Lion?  Two guys in London raised him from a cub, and got Christian back to Africa to live out his life as a wild lion.  They reunited with him years later, and Christian remembered them.  Their joyous reunion is a beautiful thing to behold.

Could you imagine meeting that lion in the wilderness not having a relationship with him?
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6
Seek him now and live, or bow down to Him later and die.

The Lion has roared

Amos3and8Lately the King has been speaking to me about a Lion roaring.  The Lion is associated with judgement.  I know his roar can make the earth shake.  Why would the lion roar? 

The lion has roared– who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken– who can but prophesy? Amos 3:8

Prophecy isn’t one of my top gifts, discernment is.  I discern signs and go to the Lord with what I observe.  I then read the Bible to see what He says, and I pray.  From the ends of the earth, I call to Him.  This is what I have discerned.

Have you noticed over the last ten years that western countries have made laws in opposition to God’s covenants?  To God, interfering with His covenants is a poke in the eye.

I’ll start with my own country, NZ.  There have been sweeping changes made by minority groups to the social and moral fabric of the nation.  Since then, we have had several earthquakes.

christchurch-cathedral-before-and-after

Christchurch NZ, 2011

The first quake struck Christchurch in September 2010.  Even though it was 7.1 on the richter scale, no-one was killed.  We called it a miracle.  It was a warning.

The first sign of judgement was the second quake that struck six months later in February 2011.  It was devastating.  The city is having to be rebuilt and it destroyed the Christchurch cathedral.  It’s not hard to see what the judgement is on. “Judgement begins with the house of the Lord.”  1 Peter 4:16

seddon-and-beehive

Seddon statue in front of the Beehive, NZ Parliament

The second sign of judgement was over the authority of the NZ government.  An earthquake struck in July 2013, on the eve of same sex marriage coming into law – another law that was passed despite public protest.  It was located in Seddon and felt strongly in the capital.  The town of Seddon is named after Richard Seddon, New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister.  There’s a prominent statue of him outside our Parliament Buildings.  Seddon has come to represent the authority of the government in NZ.

eketahuna-nz

Eketahuna, NZ

The third sign of judgment was over “real New Zealand.”  An earthquake struck Eketahuna, a little NZ town with a big Kiwi statue to represent that it is a stereotypical rural NZ town – “the real New Zealand”.  This was the third sign of judgement.

Britain is another country that brought same sex marriage into law, in the 60th year of the Queen’s coronation.  I noticed Prime Minister Cameron called the UK floods ‘biblical’ after the Thames burst it’s banks on 11th Feb 2014. 

There seem to have been a string of storms, beginning with the  St. Jude storm on 27-28 October 2013, which was also known as Cyclone ‘Christian’.  Why is it significant?

Jude was the brother of Jesus.  He urged the Church to contend for the faith, warning about certain people who have secretly slipped in among the Church; ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality.  Jude 1:4.  When the Queen ratified the same sex marriage bill it into law, she broke her coronation oath where she swore to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel.

Lion cloud

Lion cloud in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, May 2014

God was trying to get Britain’s attention.  After that, the Lion appeared in the sky during a storm in May 2014.

We need to be like Daniel for our countries.  Before Gabriel came to tell him about the end times Daniel humbled himself and prayed for forgiveness on behalf of his nation.
We need to pray like the prophet Daniel;

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land … ” Daniel 9.

I recommend praying the whole chapter, and substitute the name of Israel where appropriate for our own nations.  We have entered a time of judgement.  It’s time for the Church to rise up, be on alert, and pray.  This is what the Lord told me seven years ago; “We are born for such a time as this. We need the Isaachar anointing, to understand the days we are living in. The sons of Isaachar discerned the times, and knew what to do.  This is our time.  We need to humble ourselves, and seek God’s face.  May His Kingdom come.

The return of the King, part 2

Lion of Judah 1Jesus has a dual aspect to his character.  He’s the Lion of Judah and the Lamb Of God.  So far, the world has only met the Lamb.  Are we ready for the Lion? 

The Lion speaks of triumph and the Lamb speaks of sacrifice.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.”
Revelation 5:5-6

His capital city is going to be Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Bible.  It is not mentioned in the Koran at all.

Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, whose emblem is a lion.  Jacob’s prophecy over his son Judah pointed to Jesus, the ruler over Judah and the nations.

You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.  Genesis 49:9-10

The Gate

There is a gate in the old walls of Jerusalem that is known as the Lion Gate, also known as the Sheep Gate.  It is one of seven gates located in the Old City Walls of Jerusalem.

Five hundred years ago a Moslem ruler named Selim 1 captured Jerusalem and all of Israel.  He had plans to level the city of Jerusalem but changed his mind after dreaming of lions coming to devour him.  To be spared he promised to protect Jerusalem by building a wall around the city.

Lions gate

Lions gate / Sheep Gate, Jerusalem

Nehemiah chapter 3 which describes how the wall around Jerusalem rebuilt in 445B.C by the Jews who returned from Babylon begins and ends with the sheep gate. It was called the sheep gate because this was the gate which the sheep and lambs used in the sacrifice were bought through.

This gate points to the first coming of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world  (John 1:29).

He is the gate by which everyone must enter to be saved (John 10:7-9).

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God, Isaiah 61:1-2

Bozrah and the day of vengeance

Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”, but stopped at proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour.  (Luke 4:16-20) The day of vengeance has not yet arrived.

Who is this coming from Edom,
    from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor,
    striding forward in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I, proclaiming victory,
    mighty to save.”  Isaiah 63:1

Lion roaring, illustration for book about Aslan

Bozrah means “sheepfold”, and speaks of an end time deliverance of Israel.

“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
    I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
    like a flock in its pasture;
    the place will throng with people.
The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
    they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
    the Lord at their head.”  Micah 2:12-13

I have written of the sheepfolds here: The Sheepfolds

Zechariah 14 tells of the day of battle – when Jerusalem will be taken, divided, the houses ransacked, and the women raped.   On that day the Lord will go out and fight against those nations.  On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

So in the end Jesus will be the one dividing Jerusalem – not the nations.  The victorious King will govern the world from Jerusalem.

leo1

Leo

They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.
They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,” declares the LORD. Hosea 11:11

The sign of Leo

In the Mazzaroth, the constellation of Leo speaks of Jesus Christ.  The brightest of the 95 stars is called Regulus, which means treading underfoot.  The next star in the tip of the tail is named Denebola, the Judge or Lord who cometh. The star in the mane is called Al Giebha (Arabic), the exaltation. The star on the hinder (part of the back) is called Zosma, shining forth.  -Bullinger, The Witness of the stars.

Jesus said;
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  Revelation 22:12

Regulus

The return of the King

In my story the Kingdom, I have imagined the King to be like Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings.  Aragorn is a King but to the Hobbits he is a ranger called Strider, their guide and protector.  If you watched the Return of the King, you saw Strider become ho he was born to be; the King of Gondor.

Aragorn

The story reminds me of our own world.  Right now, we’ve got our own nightmare version of Mordor with the eye of Sauron (Horus) glaring at us and enemies pouring out the gates, bent on conquest.

The Church has been holding back the darkness for 2,000 years, but the lights are going out in places.  The tiny nation of Israel is holding the Jihadists back in the Middle East.  They are God’s chosen people and an outpost of freedom, but Christians are persecuted elsewhere.

As I write this ancient churches with Aramaic speaking Christians are being wiped out in Syria and Iraq.  Europe is in peril with its large Moslem populations.  The most common name for babies from Brussels to Oslo is now “Mohammed”.  It doesn’t bode well for the West.

And that’s just one of the world’s problems.  The Phoenix is rising.  We’ve got the Illuminati and the banksters thinking they’re the chosen ones, and they want to rule a depopulated world with us as their slaves.

All of this has been foretold in the Bible.  We await the return of our King in the second coming of Christ.  This is not a vain hope.  The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:5-9  I have paraphrased it here;

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation …..

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 

Jesus will defeat Satan and sit on the throne at Jerusalem.  Israel who was back in their land in unbelief will look on their Messiah, the one they have pierced, and weep as God pours out on them a spirit of grace and supplication.  (Zechariah 12:10).

We are familiar with Jesus portrayed as a lamb – gentle, meek and mild … although I don’t like the pictures and statues where He is forever on the cross, or he’s the little baby Jesus sitting on Mary’s lap.  He’s little and she’s really big!  I don’t think so.  He was her Lord.  But what does He look like, as a King?  Does the Bible show us?

On the Lord’s day nealy 2,000 years ago, the apostle John saw Jesus as a King.  Here is what John  saw.  I’ve written it as a story;

Lion 1The Throne Room (Book of Revelation, chapter 5)

The man called John stood before the throne of God speechless with wonder.  Was he dead?  He pinched himself.  The last thing he could remember was an open door.  Now he was here.  He looked down at his feet.  What was he standing on?  The floor looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.  The colours reflected there were indescribable. 

A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the one on the throne.  In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing.  The one on the throne was resplendent in amber and ruby coloured light.  Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders dressed in white with crowns of gold upon their heads.  

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures unlike anything the man had ever beheld on Earth.  The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like an eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings with eyes all around, even under their wings.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.  The court was in session.  

In the right hand of the one who sat on the throne was a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals. A mighty angel proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.

The man wept and wept because no one was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  He wept because the scroll held the title deed to the world – which Adam had lost.  No man could get it back, they were a fallen race.

Lion of JudahThen one of the elders looked from his throne and said to the man, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The man remembered that long ago in Egypt Jacob had prophesied;

“You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. Genesis 49:9

Wiping away his tears he beheld Judah’s descendant, the Lion of God.

The Lion took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. John could see the scars from where the Lamb had been slain.  With his blood he had purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. He made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve the one on the throne, and they were to reign on the earth.

The Lamb would return as the Lion.  The obedience of the nations would be his.  Holding the scroll, the King roared.

The elders and four creatures around the throne worshiped him, along with angels numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.  The Lion of God shook his mane of hair and accepted their worship.  One word came from them all; “WORTHY!”

The Kingdom to seek, and the Kingdom to come

journey inwardThe Kingdom of God takes two forms – the Kingdom within, and the Kingdom to come. One is a journey, the other a destiny.

The Kingdom to come

We are waiting for a Kingdom to come.  We pray in the Lord’s prayer “Thy Kingdom Come, thy Will be done”.

After the Pharisees asked Jesus “When will the Kingdom of God come?”, speaking of Himself He told the Pharisees “The Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20). 

The Pharisees were deeply religious men who were well versed in scripture and should have recognised Him as their King, but they didn’t.  Jesus called them “blind guides” who “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. They themselves did not enter, nor would they let those enter who were trying to(Matthew 23).   Watch out for the Pharisees.

The coming of the King, the Lamb and the Lion.

lion-judah-lamb-godWhy did the Pharisees not recognise the King?  It is because the scriptures speak of two comings.

The first coming was as the lamb of God – the suffering servant described by the prophet Isaiah, 700 years before His birth.  Read Isaiah 53 for His description.  Even though they had these scriptures in the synagogues, they were not prepared for the Lamb.

They wanted the Lion – the promised King who will come in great power, glory and authority to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.

This is the second coming, the return of the King, whose coming we await.

The Kingdom within

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to “seek the Kingdom of God first”.  What does this look like?

How can we seek a Kingdom that is not yet established?  Or is it?

When we repent of our sins, are baptized and begin following the lead of the Holy Spirit, we voluntarily place ourselves under the laws and authority of the coming Kingdom of God.

Living by the laws of the Kingdom

There are two laws in the Kingdom.  This is what Jesus said in reponse to the Pharisees;

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-37

What would the world look like if we all did this?

The gift of the Shepherd

The Lord is My ShepherdTired and drained, she stood by the fire inside in her father’s house, trying to get warm, and trying not to look at her father’s empty chair.  The shepherd’s staff leaned in the corner near the chair, unnoticed. 

In the land of the Kingdom, she wearily trudged through the Valley of the Shadow of death, stopping at her father’s house for the sad task of sorting out his belongings.  “One of you girls can take that,” Sally his widow said, suddenly noticing the staff. She recognised it.

“That’s my old crook” she remarked.

“It was down in his workshop,” Sally said, “He’d made it down there the other day, but he was too weak to walk back up the path.  I found him leaning on it, unable to move. It’s yours, please take it.”

Her sisters gave her his car.  As she got the engine running, a thin stream of water shot out of the radiator, landing in an arc on the concrete in front of her sisters.  Sighing, she cracked an egg into the radiator water, praying it would hold until she could get the leak fixed.

Obviously her father had been too ill to maintain the car.  It still had all his stuff in it, the paperback he’d been reading was face down on the seat where he’d left it. Putting the crook in the back of the car with the rest of his stuff, she concentrated on getting the car back to Wanganui.

At home she put the crook in the corner of the room and cried.  It was more than she could cope with. The endless winter days felt like a long, dark valley where she did not laugh and she did not smile.  Again the humble crook stayed unnoticed until finally, the God of all comfort came.

Her tear filled eyes were drawn to the staff.  She noticed it had been varnished.  Mindful of the care taken in its preservation, she asked “Does this crook have some significance?”

The Shepherd replied, giving her some dates, and a number.  “From the day you left Napier on the 4th day of August 1971, to the day of your Father’s death on the 4th day of August 1994, 23 years were written in my book. When your father leaned on the staff, I was there.  Now the time for your father has ended, and you will go on. Read Psalm 23. It will be familiar to you.”

   The Lord is my shepherd,
   I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

   He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness

   for His name’s sake.

  Even though I walk through the valley
   of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil;
   for you are with me;
   Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  Psalm 23

Carried back to the place where she had first encountered the Shepherd in the valley, she smiled at him through her tears.  She could see the hills, the sheep, the creek and the quiet pool by the willows. “This is the place where we first met” she said, wiping away her tears as her eyes lingered on the crook, the shepherd’s staff.

Taking the staff in her hands she ran her fingers over the smooth wood, remembering.  The staff had come back to her as a great gift from the Shepherd, and it comforted her.   She wiped her eyes and said “It’s true. Your rod and your staff … comfort me.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” the Lord replied. (Matthew 5:4)

Seek first the Kingdom

Ephesians 3-20Do you believe that God is able or willing to provide if we ask, or do you believe that “God helps those who help themselves?”  I had to grow up self reliant, so I believed more in self help.  That was until I came to a place in my life where we’d just left college,  we didn’t have jobs, and we were nearly out of money.  We ended up in this tenuous position through no fault of our own, work we’d been promised didn’t materialise.  I called that place “the mirage”.

Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount not to worry about stuff, our Father in Heaven knows what we need;

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 

SparrowLook at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34

I wanted to believe that if we seek first the Kingdom, all these things will be given to us – but I had trouble trusting God for provision after the mirage.  I worried about the future big time!  My husband didn’t pray very nicely to God about our situation, he just barked “God, we need money, RIGHT NOW.

Eye on the sparrowGod heard us.  The next day we entered a period of supernatural provision that lasted for two months, ending when we got our first pay packets.  We got jobs working nightfill at a supermarket 3 nights a week, commercial cleaning on the weekends and early mornings, and I also worked as a caregiver on Saturday night through to early Sunday afternoon.  We were building a business during the day, and I wondered how we were ever going to get that off the ground.  God got us seed funding for that as well.  He did above and beyond what we asked for or ever could have imagine.  Our business was able to pay us both after the first year, and we were able to give up our night jobs.  That was seven years ago, and we’re doing okay, despite the recession.

The story is told in Chapter 78 The seed

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Choose this day …

WChoicee live in a sea of possibilities and choices.  Some choices are bigger than others, for instance who we will marry, or where we will spend eternity.  Sometimes we are the answer to someone’s prayer. 

On Easter Monday we picked up a guy from the side of the road, I’ll call him Shaun.  This guy didn’t have a lot of choices to make at this point of his journey – just stick his thumb out or keep walking north.  He was stuck in the North Island at Easter without any money or transport.

We had a choice to make too.  Should we turn the car around?  We’d gone past him, but 3kms up the road the Lord asked my husband to turn the car around and go get him.  I’m glad we obeyed.  We found out he’d been standing for two hours waiting for a lift, and hadn’t eaten for two days.

While he was sleeping his friend had ditched him at a motel, taking his pack and wallet.  Shaun told us his friend had got onto meth, which he hadn’t known abour prior to their reunion at Easter.  He noticed how much it had changed his friend, and had a bad feeling about it.  The bad feeling hadn’t stopped him being robbed.

choose wiselySomeone at Taupo (the town he’d been stranded at) contacted a church at Tokoroa – a town further north.  The church told him they could help with accomodation until he could get back to the South Island, he just needed to put $40 towards it.  We gave Shaun the $40, plus the food left over from the long weekend, including some Easter eggs.

I asked Shaun if he knew who was helping him, and what Easter was all about.  Shaun didn’t know, so we explained how Christ had died on the cross for our sins.

Click here if you want to know about salvation.

Shaun realised he had a choice to make, and somewhere between Taupo and Tokoroa, he made Christ his Lord.  It’s the biggest and most important choice he has ever made or will make.

If you know you have a choice to make about the Lord, then don’t delay.  It’s getting dark out there.  Choose this day whom you will serve.

Now to the next most important choice, who we will marry.  I chose my first husband, and it didn’t work out.  When I came to know the Lord, I asked Him to choose the next one.  The Lord promised I would remarry, and told me He had a guy already chosen for me.  In the Kingdom I referred to this man as the ‘chosen’, and (after I met ‘Ishmael’) I called him ‘Issac’.

‘Isaac’ had been praying for a wife.  When he arrived in my life seven years later, he believed the Lord had someone else for him.  It tripped me up big time.  Isaac didn’t know he was ‘the chosen’, and I was grumpy and not saying anything.  I expected if I knew about him, it would logically follow he would know about me.  Not necessarily!  Chapter 62 Choosing the Chosen tells the story.

Sometimes we are the answer to someon’e prayer.  Happy choose day!