Stormy beginnings

calm-before-storm-1We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in 2014.  Married life began in a storm, and what a storm.  It was a one in 20 year weather event, apparently.  It had gone on for a week and shown no signs of abating.

The month of February is full on summer in NZ and we thought the weather would be good for our wedding.  Wrong!

I think it was because we had a big  evangelistic crusade in New Zealand at the time, and it had gone to Wellington, our capital which was only two hours away.  The campaign, Impact World Tour was brilliant because all the churches of different denominations came together and worked as one to reach people for the Lord.  We were all involved in different ways.

The devil didn’t like it and tried to rain out all the venues.  It was a spiritual battle.  The only problem was our wedding was being affected by the weather too.  I should have thought about it more when we chose the date.

Everyone asked us what plan B was for the weather.  There was no plan B.  My fiancee decided to go ahead with having the ceremony in the garden.  It had a strange calm about it, even though the wind blew through the trees around this place named Homestead Garden.

There is a scripture in Isaiah 25:4 that describes God as being a refuge in the storm. 

Homestead Garden b&w

Homestead garden

When we got married we invited God to the wedding, which went off without a hitch in an island of calm, with radiant sunshine.  Our guests  got sunburnt.  All the other outdoor weddings that day got rained out and blown out.  People were amazed that the storm didn’t touch us.  I’ve never known such favour.

As we were saying our vows, two Monarch butterflies fluttered their way across the lawn in front of us.  It was a beautiful sign to be given.  The butterfly has turned up at different places in the story.

You’ll see the butterfly emerge in Chapter 5 of my book ‘The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.’.  It flutters into the story again in Chapter 8, ‘Shelter in the Storm.’  This time, it’s not alone.

Here are a few photos of our wedding in the storm.

Windy wedding 2 Our wedding at Homestead Garden 3 resized Windy wedding 1

 

 

Almond Grove

Have you ever had a dream come true?  I found myself in a place I had seen in a dream – a particularly auspicious dream.  Years before I’d dreamed of staying at a lodge of sorts, which lead to an Almond grove.  According to my dream dictionary, to dream of Almond trees meant I could look forward with certainty to a happy marriage.

About four years later I met the man I was going to marry, and one weekend in the winter we stayed at a lodge of sorts with a group of people from his college course. 

I learned that our hosts had planted some Almond trees on the lodge grounds and I recognised I was in the place I’d dreamed if.  The trees weren’t as spectacular as the grove in my dream, but the surrounding land at Otaki Gorge was every bit as beautiful.  Otaki Gorge was the location in New Zealand which represented The Shire woods in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.

Otaki in Maori means the place of a staff stuck in the ground.

Otaki river

Otaki forks

To have the dream fulfilled was an awesome experience.

There is a proverb that says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12.

In the Kingdom dreams do come true, if you seek the Kingdom first.  There is a promise in the Bible; “Seek your happiness in God, and He will grant you your heart’s desire.”  Psalm 37:4

It’s true.  If you read my story, you’ll see how good God was to me, and I am no more deserving than anyone else.

The ring, and the unnamed servant

doves-eyesIn a way the courtship I wrote about in my story The Kingdom reminds me of the Bible story in Genesis 24 of Isaac and Rebecca.  Isaac’s bride had to come from his father’s country.  The father sent an unnamed servant to go and get her. 

The unnamed servant met Rebecca at a well.  He watched her closely.  When she fulfilled the signs the servant looked for, he gave her a ring and two bracelets.   Rebecca went on a journey with the servant to find Isaac, and she first clapped eyes on Isaac when he had gone out into the Prayer in desertdesert in the evening to meditate.  The servant announced to her who Isaac was, and Rebecca veiled herself.  The servant told Isaac all he had done.  Rebecca became the wife of Isaac, and he loved her.

I could have written those scenes in the Kingdom with that in mind, but I had no way of knowing about “Isaac” when I wrote about the desert and the wells.  I just went where God led.

The unnamed servant was sent with gifts and jewellery to fetch the bride.  He put the ring on the bride.  The unnamed servant is a type for the Holy Spirit.

My rings both have interesting stories behind them.  God supplied the wedding ring out of thin air, and it came first.  Then after I met “Isaac”, a beautiful and very valuable engagement ring came from “Isaac’s” Grandmother in Florida, over 8,000 miles away.

Hosea 2-19

In the story I write called “The Kingdom”, the King told me “Isaac” was going to be my husband.  The story about the gold wedding ring that just appeared one day out of nowhere is in my book.

When I met “Isaac”, he told me his mother’s maiden name was “Isaacson”.  By then I knew he was the husband, but it was still an amazing confirmation.

As soon as “Isaac” knew I was the one, he wanted to get a ring on my finger right away.

The only trouble was he’d just started a business and had no money.  When I pointed out the obvious, he just believed God would help him out with the ring.  And God did.  His mother told him she had a ring just waiting for him.  It was a huge rock!  It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been given.

Some things aren’t built to move

What do you think of same sex marriage?  The Church didn’t see it coming, and we’re left scrambling.  Some Churches see themselves as inclusive, and they will conduct gay marriages.  Other Churches are taking a “wait and see” approach.  The Church I belong to is sticking to what is written in the Bible, that marriage is between a man and a woman. I agree with my Church. 

Now you may see me as being an intolerant bigot.  No, I’m a repentant sinner.  There’s this saying I like; “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes“, and I am going to.  Please hear me out.

I have the same right

Jesus was very clear about divorce, and marriage being between one man and one woman.  You can read it for yourself in Matthew 19:3-11.

My story “The Kingdom” began when I was a divorced woman with a married man.  At first, I didn’t regard that as being a terrible sin.  I mean, he was going to get divorced!  Do you see how messed up that was?

When I got to know God, He showed me that He regards divorce, adultery, and homosexuality as sin.  It was a struggle for me to trust God to get me out of all of that.  I got there with a lot of help from my friends and support from people in different churches.

After my divorce God in His mercy gave me a second chance, and I was able to leave all of that behind me.  I am now very happily married to a man who loves the Lord as much as I do.

What do you think the Church is here for?  It’s to deal with sin.  We’re like a cross between a school and a hospital.  We teach the truth, and bring emotional, physical and spiritual healing to those who are wounded by sin.  That is what we do, knowing that we ourselves are sinners.  We are not perfect, we’ve been forgiven.

The church is there to help turn our lives around, so we can go the other way.  That is what we are.  We are like a lighthouse – an oil filled one.  Oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit.  If your Church is offering same sex marriage – run.  It’s a Church without any oil.

Jesus told a story about a Bridegroom and oil in Matthew 25, the parable of the 10 virgins.  That Church is not interested in dealing with sin, or your spiritual condition.  The Church is supposed to deal with sin, not accommodate it in the name of “tolerance” or “inclusiveness”!

We can’t change the marriage covenant.  It would mean abandoning our faith to do it.  You might as well be asking for a lighthouse to move!  Here’s a clip about the USS Montana and a lighthouse.

40

40You know how you hear a song and it takes you back to a certain time in your life? U2’s song ’40’ is one of those songs for me.  

When I first heard the song, I was on my own, and miserable.  The narcissist I was in a “relationship” with put me through hell.  I remember finding comfort in the words to Psalm 40.  It was like a promise.  Back then, I was living in a street called Pitt Street.  It was there that the Lord turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me up out of the pit and got me onto solid ground.  He brought me safe people and taught me how to have healthy relationships.  I can’t sing His praises enough.

U2 think the same thing.  The song ’40’ by U2 is taken from Psalm 40.  Have you heard it?

Psalm4040 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a clip of them sing ‘Yahweh’ and ’40’.  40 comes on around the 4 minute mark.  Enjoy.

U2 are not a Christian band, but here they are giving the King the glory and recognition He deserves.

Gifts and talents, in His Majesty’s Service

In the last chapter I was helped by a woman who had a gift of knowledge.  It was the first time I’d ever encountered anything like it, and it was quite an experience.  Actually it was incredible.

fcd

This woman was a stranger who had come from 8,000 miles away.  God gave her the answer to a question that I’d asked him, that she had no way of knowing.  She also told me and my home group I was to be married soon.  No one knew that except me.  She said “You have dreams. God will speak to others out of these dreams.”

The apostle Paul told us to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, but we have to have love for one another.  Without love, these gifts are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13).

My spiritual gifts are writing, faith, and discernment (the ability to distinguish between spirits).

The rise of the New Age has attracted many people, but
The idols speak deceit
diviners see dreams that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like a sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd” Zechariah 10:2

I want to use my writing, dream and interpretation gift to help guide hurting people to the truth – to a Kingdom that is real, and a King who is real.  I want others to know He can hear them, and if we are spirit led, we can hear Him.  Everyone has their own journey and story, and I hope me sharing mine will help others.

Spiritual gifts exist within the church to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.  Here are the gifts:

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom,
to another a word of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit,
to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
to another miraculous powers,
to another prophecy,
to another distinguishing between spirits,
to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,
and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Do you know what gifts and talents are?

This is a useful site for finding them out: http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/

Have you been helped by the Lord through somebody’s spiritual gift?  I’d like to hear your story.

Spiritual Gifts

Hearts and Flamingos

A lot of people have trouble with dating and courtship.  Even Solomon, the wisest King in the Bible, said it’s a thing he did not understand.

There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maiden.”  Proverbs 30:19

Its interesting that Solomon should include an eagle, serpent, and ship in his observation about courtship.  What do they all have in common , besides being familiar sights to him?  Let’s see.  Flying. Sliding. Sailing. Courting.  I guess its all about the moves.

flamingo-heart_2277679k

A flock of Caribbean flamingos in Yucatan, Mexico, form the shape of a heart while feeding on a lake.

Pink Flamingos have the moves when it comes to courting.   God sends us signs, and I found this picture of a heart on The Telegraph website.  What might He want to tell us about the Flamingo?

They do a really cute dance.  I like the way they’ve been designed to bust out the moves.  How is it they know what to do, and we don’t?

Here is a link for a short movie clip about the Flamingos in Celestun, Mexico.  The people there know to protect the Flamingos – because it’s part of their heritage.  I wish we had the wisdom to teach our children about courtship and protect the marriage covenant in our own societies.

What kind of moves do men and women make when it comes to courting these days?  Courting is out of fashion isn’t it?  I knew it as ‘dating’ and my daughter calls it ‘hooking up’.  What is courting?  What are the rules, etiquette, and social mores?  I know its not what we see portrayed on TV and the films.  It’s not even close.  If children don’t see it from Mum and Dad, how are flamingosthey supposed to learn?  The media is the wrong place to learn about courtship.  When it comes to the world, eveything goes.  Now my children are trying to find their way through the same maze, and it’s grown even worse now that there’s all sorts of immoral stuff being passed into law.

What’s God’s pattern for courtship and marriage?  Right from the start, He designed marriage to be between one man and one woman.  The Old Testament kings and patriachs had plural wives, but this would have been a result of sin – not His perfect design.

God inspired Solomon to write that a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12.  He, being the third strand.  It makes all the difference.  God designed marriage so a man and woman could become one, and from that union, produce a family.  He also uses marriage to strengthen families where the father or mother is missing.  Listen, God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.  Psalm 68:6.

Chapter 69 The Courtship tells the story about the courtship that began with the man God found for me.  I’d been a rebellious one living in a sun scorched land, before I came to trust the Lord and accept His pattern for marriage.  My husband had been a lonely guy, waiting for the wife the Lord had promised.  I am so glad that God chose him for me.  It’s better to dance to God’s tune.

I found a couple of good links about courtship here:

17 Tips For Effective Courtship

http://dareadaramoye.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/17-tips-for-effective-courtship/

“God really does write the best love stories.”

http://kindredgrace.com/real-life-isnt-always-like-the-courtship-books/