In the words of a 2 year old: “He camed back alive”!

Easter rolls around for another year and 2015 marks for me the best one yet!  I’m pretty excited about this particular Easter – because Israel, my almost three-year-old son understands to a certain degree why we celebrate Easter!

He certainly has very quickly familiarised himself with chocolate Easter Eggs!  He can answer the question – what happened at the first Easter?  “Jesus died on the cross.” To which I responded, “Did he stay dead” and he says excitedly, “no, he camed back alive!”

The significance of this statement, he doesn’t fully understand; and yet, neither do I.  Doing life with Jesus is a constant discovery of the depth of his love, grace and power.

Many people know the pain of bad decisions, the hurts that this life can throw; the loneliness, the difficulties.  I can not imagine facing these things without the power and presence of Jesus and the church family I am supported by.  The crazy thing is that Jesus and everything he has to offer us is available to everyone – NO MATTER WHAT!

Many people find Jesus after a life – however long, of not knowing him and then finding him and in doing so; find forgiveness, freedom, purpose, healing and hope.

It was living life our own way that first separated us from the love of God.  God then showed his great love to us by giving his son to die on the cross as a final payment, the perfect sacrifice of a perfect life.  To be forgiven by simply accepting this fact is amazing – but then the Easter story was taken one step further.  We don’t stop and celebrate Good Friday because it was ‘good'; Jesus died a horrible, painful, horrific and humiliating death!! It became good because of Sunday – when Jesus rose again in victory and conquered the power of death and took authority once and for all over everything!  Before the cross Jesus was mocked for being the ‘King’ of the Jews and yet after the cross, although some may still choose to mock him, the truth is that he is King.  The one true King!  When we confess him to be our King, our Lord – that is what transforms our lives!

Though this truth has always been known to me – like it is for my son Israel.  I have still walked a journey from a two-year-old understanding to now and I am just in awe of the life he saved me from and the life I have been set up for!

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Find privilege in the mundane

sink

I had a brilliant start to my day at a beautiful local cafe – Esher St Cafe & Deli; fantastic food, terrific coffee and brilliant company!  A few of my lady friends got together to read our Bibles, which is always a great way to begin the day.  Israel and Sophie ate their food happily; Israel was especially elated when he received a large pink marshmallow with his baby chino.  

As I read my Bible something stood out to me in 1 Corinthians 11:26 (msg)

You must never let familiarity breed contempt.

It made me think back to the night before when I was carrying my children up from the car at midnight to their beds and I was just so thankful in that moment for the privilege of being their Mum.  There have been many similar moments where I have allowed the familiarity of this task – late at night, exhausted, carrying my sleeping children to their beds to breed contempt.  Especially when I’ve done it alone.  Yet last night I found privilege in the mundane.

Life is full of mundane moments and yet it’s often the small consistent steps of the mundane that produces the outcomes we are hoping for.  If we allow familiarity to steal our joy, to rob our gratitude in the everyday moments, consistency falters and outcomes fall short.  

Recently I watched a scenario unfold where I saw a Mother put down her grown-up daughter a number of times in a group setting.  I’m sure she wasn’t even aware she was doing it and I was reminded to watch how I speak to my loved ones.  When our guards are down because we are comfortable, we can often allow that to influence our filter.  Let’s not allow familiarity to breed contempt towards our loved ones.  Let’s tell them they are loved with our words, let’s show them they are loved with our actions.

It’s the everyday moments that matter – what do you choose to do with yours?

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Green Stairs

DSC_4996 Green concrete stairs

I didn’t think I’d ever come back to this house.  We renovated it to make it suitable to rent as a share house, and it was – before we realised the location was too good to give up and so we went back to it; green stairs and all.

Sometimes the things that need to change stare us in the face daily and we can either become numb or narked.

Some days I am numb to my green stairs, as the hustle and bustle of life swiftly brings me up and down the stairs carrying at least one child and an armful of other items needed with me for the day.  Other days I am just narked by the fact the green stairs have not changed and I want to do something about them…I just don’t know where to start!

The outside of our house is no longer a bright, light blue with some bits of peeling paint; it is now a light grey with white trimmings and a dark grey trim.  It looks great – it’s a huge improvement!  It’s sleek, modern and makes it look so much better!  I walk in the newly painted front door and look to the dark green stairs with white paint splashes (quite artistic really!) and see a big contrast.  The outside is now looking really good with all the attention put there and the inside is suffering!

This stark contrast between the outside and the inside of my house got me thinking to the outside of my life and the inside of my life.  Is there a stark difference?

Am I numb or narked to the contrast of my internal and external life?

Everything within me wants to be my best, wants to be better not only than yesterday’s mistakes, but yesterday’s best.  I want to succeed at life!  I choose to live my life for Jesus and I want to give him my best!

Giving Jesus my best does not mean giving him my most polished performance at life.  It means giving him every part so that he can help me change and grow into the person he wants me to be.

Sometimes in my pursuit of excellence, I can get caught up in not only in what I think success looks like but I can even put too much pressure on myself to get the internal polished too.

I’m a sinner and although Jesus is slowly changing me from the inside out, I am far from perfect and it actually annoys me!  I’m narked by my imperfection! I want to just give my internal world a paint job and be done with it!  Polished and then ta-da!

Either I can admit I’m imperfect and then become numb to the fact and then just use it as an excuse to stay as I am, or I can be narked by it and be willing to let Jesus change the person I am on the inside and in turn, it does eventually impact the outside of my life too!

Maybe you can follow what I’m saying, or maybe you’re like me and my green stairs – you don’t know where to start!  So if you don’t know where to start with your internal world, just pray a simple prayer to Jesus that just allows him to have access to your life, to your heart and pick up the Bible and have a read.  Here’s a verse in Romans to point us in the right direction.

Romans 12:2
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

 

 

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Living the dream

We got to bed just past midnight last night and as my head hit the pillow I hear my 6 month old daughter start crying…so I start weighing up my options, do I put her dummy in and try and settle her without feeding, or do I feed her now while I’m still awake anyway and then hope she lasts longer before another feed.  I fed her…but the lasting longer part didn’t work, she was awake 2 hours later looking for more milk and then a little after that had dirtied her nappy and she was awake bright eyes and smiling to start the day at 5am.  Meanwhile – my Son had woken with pins and needles in his arm at some point during the night when I had just started to doze off again.  I felt like I was awake all night.

I struggle out of bed to start my day and the battle with the 2 year old has already begun.  He has helped himself to the fridge and had spilt the 2L bottle of milk all over the kitchen floor.  He started to tantrum when he was told he is not allowed to help himself into the fridge.

In the difficult moments I like to remind myself that…

I’m living the dream!  I’m married with two beautiful kids, own the house I’m living in (well have a mortgage).  My husband is loving and supportive and is such an incredible person and fantastic father to my children.  We have the same values and when we make big decisions – it’s always easy because they are based on Biblical truths and trust in God.

I have it so good! I am so blessed! Anything worthwhile in life takes time, effort, sacrifice.

My dreams don’t stop at being married with kids and owning my home, there is a lot more I want to achieve with my life…but for a long time, I dreamt of the day I would have this and I am living in it now.

It’s great to have a bigger dream, more vision for your life beyond now…but take a moment to count your blessings and value your today.  Even if you are not where you thought you’d be – there is always something to be grateful for.

If you trust God for your future you will find a lot more satisfaction in today.

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Thanks for the reminder!

Do you have someone in your life that reminds you how you want to live and pushes you into your destiny?

My Son Israel – almost 2 1/2 years, old had pushed me to my limits today and I sent a text to my husband to vent.  He prayed with me and reminded me to turn to Jesus.

I put on some music and started praying and the heaviness left me, I was filled with vision and purpose for the thing that I was being distracted from.

I was allowing things to get the better of me by reacting to his tantrums and I took a moment to make the right decision.  I changed the atmosphere of my home from being toddler ruled to Jesus ruled. I had been battling Israel to go to sleep and the moment I took my eyes off that situation and focused back on Jesus, he went to sleep and I didn’t even notice.

Moments of decision, big and small; they all add up to become who we are.  This may seem simple and the situation sounds pretty typical of a toddler – but I have the opportunity every day to allow my decisions to line up with the life Jesus has for me or not and so do you.

Our days might look slightly different depending on who you are and what season you are in, but we all have today, we all have this moment right now to live the life we want to live.

So thanks for the reminder Ben!

 

 

 

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You don’t have to be a Christian to go to Church

I have often heard people say about themselves, “I’m not very religious.” To which I respond, “neither am I.”  They are always shocked by my answer – knowing I go to church. You don’t have to be a Christian to go to church nor does going to church make you a Christian…simply going to church is just religion.

Religion is about well-intentioned efforts to please God and even though I live my life to please God – it’s not out of requirement but relationship.  In the same way, I don’t share my life with my husband out of requirement to fulfil my marriage vows; I share my life because we have a healthy relationship and I want to.

Some people come to church because of the music, some people leave because of the music! Some people come to church because of the strong sense of community.  It doesn’t matter the reason why you come to church – but eventually you will leave if it becomes out of requirement instead of relationship.

I go to church because I love Jesus and I love his church! I totally believe in the Church that presents Jesus to everyone, accepts everyone as they are and brings out the best in people by connecting them to a community of grace. Church is a place to find purpose and a hope that you can not find anywhere else in the world.  Jesus willingly died in our place so that we can live life both now and in eternity.

Church is an environment where my family and I can thrive.  Our church is Bible-based and teaches practically how to live lives the way the Bible teaches us to.  This is actually not all about rules and regulations – but it’s about Godly wisdom that enriches our lives and helps us to live life to the full!

Just like great parents who want the best for their kids, God has given us safe boundaries in which to live our lives.  Children will often complain about the boundaries set because they don’t realise it’s out of love and it’s the same way God has set parameters for our lives.  Life God’s way is actually not restrictive like people think – but it’s the biggest and best way to live life!  A life lived reaching out to others and loving people like you love yourself.

If it’s religion – it’s a lot of hard work.  Why don’t you try a relationship with Jesus – it’s awesome!  See you at Church this Sunday!

 

 

 

 

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Back me up Pumbaa!

pumba

Timon and Pumbaa, two loveable characters from The Lion King. They were outcasts who had each other’s backs, which is expressed in the phrase ‘back me up Pumbaa’ when Timon and Pumbaa are singing “Hakuna matata” together.  The only problem was, they reinforced this self-centred worldview of being ‘problem-free’.

Simba was destined to be King of Pride Rock.  His upbringing was elite, it was royal because his father was the King.  He had been privileged to certain things and his father passed on wisdom to him.  In a scheme to ruin his destiny and steal his place as King – Simba’s Uncle Scar set him up and sold him a lie that made Simba run away.

Simba found himself in the company of Timon and Pumbaa and they taught him a new philosophy on life that went against the way he knew.  He was being groomed to be a King, he was meant to rule with wisdom and care for others; but instead found himself only living for himself in a seemingly problem-free way of life.

If we are a part of God’s Kingdom, then we are privileged to a royal upbringing  because our heavenly father is King.

Just like Simba’s Uncle Scar was scheming against his destiny with lies – we too have someone scheming against the destiny God has for us.  The Bible teaches us in John 10:10 when Jesus says:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Jesus’ purpose for us is to give us a rich and satisfying life – but we have to chose to live life his way, live life with Godly wisdom.

Have you ever asked a certain person’s opinion on something because you knew that they would support you and then avoided someone who you thought might try and persuade you otherwise?

Do we seek Godly wisdom in our lives or do we just want to be ‘wise in our own eyes’?

Our sinful nature wants to be wise in our own eyes.  This was evident in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan.  Eve wanted the wisdom the fruit would give her.

I would sum up Godly Wisdom as being Biblical convictions outworked in the way we live our lives and base our decisions on.  It is through personal relationship with God and his Holy Spirit that teaches and equips us to realign our hearts and attitudes.

Godly wisdom is taught in the Bible and caught through relationship with God’s holy spirit.  

Godly wisdom can seem so contrary to reason sometimes and it’s only when we apply his wisdom in faith that we can start to see the fruitfulness that it brings.

We are taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that if we want to be the greatest we have to be the least, that we need to enter the Kingdom of God like a child, that we only need faith as small as a mustard seed, to consider troubles an opportunity for great joy.

If we want Godly wisdom in our lives, we need to be intentional – because most often it is the opposite to what comes naturally.

1. Godly Wisdom sees opportunity when we naturally see trouble

2. Godly Wisdom chases the responsibility when we naturally chase the title and accolade

3. Godly Wisdom seeks wise counsel when we naturally want affirmation

James 1:5 says:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.

We all need Godly wisdom and it’s only one prayer away!

 

 

 

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