Saturday, 19 July 2014

Revisiting Spirituality (Part 2): Don't YOLO it; YOLTBTSTYLF it!

A Recap: Spirituality, Not Religiosity 

As a brief recap, spirituality is a very misunderstood term, one misunderstood as ridiculous; either as a tool to become holy, or as an 'airy-fairy' false belief system people resort to (see part 1 here). Christianity is also amongst the crossfire: as some perceive Christianity as religiosity; something that has strict requirements to follow in order to become 'holy'.  

Recently I have been reflecting on YOLO (you only live once). I love this term, you know, it kinda feels like the 'push' or 'kick starter' before a bungee jump. I often use it if I'm not sure about doing something, and 95% of the time it gets me to do a particular thing without looking at its consequences. But the idea behind YOLO can distort how I live with God in a world that is 'fun'.          

“Let us eat and drink,” you say “for tomorrow we die!” - Isaiah 22: 13(NIV)#YOLO


One thing about Christianity is that we do not indeed to strive for God's promise. You may have heard this time to time, and I indeed forget it time to time, but one of the many major things that differs Christianity from other faiths like Islam, is their promises. 

(5)made us alive with Christ... (6)And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... (8)For it is by grace you have been saved... 

We are made with, raised with and saved through Christ - all are in past tense! For many religions it is 'follow, strive, invest and then, become holy', but for Christianity we who accept Jesus as Lord are 'holy', therefore it is the other way round; we want to 'follow, strive and invest'So for Christianity, we have are inheritence now, and later. The now being our assurance!

The Spirit is our assurance (see image; Eph 1: 13-14), God gave us not something, but someone to look after us until we are in heaven. In part 1 (see here), I referred to the fruits of the Spirit: essentially, the desires of the Spirit which overwrite our darker desires; nurturing our spirituality. But also, God gave us his Spirit to dwell in us to remind us of his promise, eternal life - salvation. Recently I have been pondering how this has huge significance on our day-to-day lives.

Eternal Perspective

You know, it is weird, when the bible refers to Christians as 'saints' and 'righteous'. Because in the world we live in it is so easy to compare ourselves with others and feel insecure. I don't know about you but I don't look in the mirror and go 'look at this beautiful saint!' You know, righteousness is alot more down to earth than you may think. Essentially, it describes a person who is right with God (through accepting Jesus Christ as lord); living in and by his promise. But this idea of righteousness is so distorted, moreover, it is - for everyone; non-Christians, Christians, old age society and post-modern society - often limited to a 'great' man like Moses or an old dude who has dedicated his whole life to a religion in a run down chapel. But it isn't an earned thing, it doesn't put people on a higher pedestal in a 'hierarchy' in order to get closer to God (see Eph 2: 9). It is this misunderstanding that managed to translate itself into how I perceive the life I live and its many choices.

I read Romans 8 recently, and never have I been so challenged! It describes the promise we have not just later, but now! Even more so, it provokes my spirit with joy to reach out to the world. Cause if I have an eternal life after this one then YOLTBTSTYLF! You Only Live Twice But The Second Time Is For Life, so why not?

Imagine you are in heaven 3000 years from now, you would probably be like 'remember that time 3000 years ago when I was scared to talk to that guy about this eternal life?' Oh yeah, imagine I also said this in a joyous tone of voice - as Jesus' promise isn't a conviction to reach out to people, but a fire, a reason, something that gets us pumped to do it! Don't feel compelled to force yourself to talk to strangers, but simply, if someone asks about your faith or asks what you are up to in the weekend - just YOLTBTSTYLF it - tell them you went to Church, tell them about your testimony, Jesus says to plant seeds not to tear roots (Matt 13: 29).  They may laugh or persecute you, but in a millennia or so you'll be like #YOLTBTSTYLF that! 

Revisiting Spirituality: Nurturing an Eternal Perspective
When we spend time with the Spirit, our fruits develop in which it reflects a healthy spirituality. Moreover, when our fruits develop, when we feel secure in our relationship with the Spirit - no matter if we read our bible everyday or not, sinned that day or not - it develops an eternal perspective. I write this as an encouragement! Because isn't it awesome that God didn't just give us a piece of paper saying we are saved? That instead, he actually gave us a living person to assure us of his promise, a person to develop a relationship with and count on! So don't YOLO it - I might aswell do this cause I'll die; YOLTBTSTYLF it!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Why, Oh Why?

So I'm not going to lie things haven't exactly been that easy recently. And I'm not playing the 'Stop feel sorry for me card,' actually that's the very last thing I want to do, I'm just being honest and hopefully can get through to you, yes you reading this what God's been teaching me recently.

Bear with me here....

So last week was probably the most stressful and emotionally draining week I've had. Everything kinda just seemed to hit and though many things came along that where horrible and distressing there was also a few great highs; so really I can't complain. But I can also tell you last week was one of those moments where you stop and really question why God is putting you through this all at once? and causing you pain? Isn't he meant to be a God that cares? and simply we ask why?




I know I did. And now thinking about it, I do this quite often... I question or rather try and figure out God's reason for things. And time after time, I come out the other end - or more God carries
me out, walks me out holding my hand, whispering... "See I had everything aced and planned Beth, I would never put you through anything that you couldn't come out the other end saying, God had it all sorted."

And it's funny because the amount of times I've come out the other end of a wild storm in my life and I reflect, smile and thank God; because that storm has developed me, brought me closer to him and made me stronger. Yet when I come to another storm later on, I forget this.  When I'm in the middle of the storm, out on the waters, where the waves are high and the wind strong I seem to lose sight of the previous outcomes of storms and get lost in the chaos. I lose sight of God. I feel myself sinking. So I guess last week when I went to sit down on the toilet... and picked up the devotional book lying there... did I stop and put my focus on God. I stopped and forgot about the storm. And what I read... refreshed me, cleansed me and gave me clear vision goggles to see clearer.

July the 9th- Streams in the Desert ( 366 daily devotional readings)

I have chosen thee in thee furnace of affliction (Isiah 48:10 JKV)

Doesn't God's work come to us like a soft rain shower, dispelling the fury of the flames? Isn't it like fireproof armour, against which the heat is powerless? Then let afflictions come, for God has chosen you. Poverty, you may walk through my door, but God is already in my house, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude into my life, but I have a cure standing ready-God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me.
Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. 'Do not be afraid, for I am with with you' (Gen.16:24) is His unfailing word of promise to His chosen ones who are experiencing "The furnace of affliction" -Charles H Spurgeon

(and at the end was a quote)

The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung around our necks. Yet in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while he is searching for pearls.-Julius Richter

And the word 'simply' caught my attention.

It made everything going on become less, well, huge? That God was simply just putting me, us through some stuff. It's natural. It's life. After all our walk with God was never promised to be easy. And I held on to the fact that maybe I was looking at the storm through the wrong glasses... I was focusing on the negatives and everything that was going wrong... making a list. Whilst I should pick up the glasses that help me view the situation not as a heavy weight sinking me to the bottom of the ocean but rather as something helping me to find the pearls. The pearls that God would produce at the end of the tunnel.

It's often like when we have a power cut, how much more do we appreciate the light after being in the dark?

And once I changed my glasses, I realized how God is a great provider, comforter and his timing is perfect and though the waves may be rough, he will always be my strong ship that I can cling onto, whether I am riding smoothly on the deck of the vessel or being thrown into the ocean to anchor deep into the waves to find the treasure that God has given us. And the great thing is He'll always pull us back up (:

- Though the waves are strong, my God is stronger. Though the water deep, my God is deeper, waiting for me. Though my burdens heavy... the pearls are plenty.

God is good. All of the time God is good. Please, never forget it, even when you find yourself in the storm.

Check out this great song below (:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Things to look at - July 14

The internet is a great place to waste time, especially during the holidays. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes... not so good. It's also a great place to find things that build our faith. So once a month, we plan on sharing a few things we've found around the place that we have enjoyed watching/reading/viewing/listening to that you might enjoy too...

There are plenty of great christian blogs/bloggers out there. Here are a few that have grabbed me recently:

It's not for everyone, but I'm loving Hillsong United's "The White Album." It's a remix of some of their well known songs.

Youtube link:

Also, loving this song by Dustin Kensrue from Mars Hill.

More from Mars Hill...

I struggled to stream it... so downloaded instead or there is just the audio you can listen to. This guy is a great preacher, a little controversial sometimes, but good nonetheless.

That's My King:

The Joshua Project
The Gospel in Four Minutes:

Put together by the Joshua Project, unreached of the day provides information and prayer requests on a people groups around the world who have no or little knowledge of the gospel.

I know nothing of this tumblr phenomenon, but apparently it's popular with the kids...  

For those of you who enjoy books...

There is a God by Anthony Flew is a great book about how a staunch atheist changed his mind about a designer.

If God, Then What? By Andrew Wilson. This guy blogs at thinktheology (see link above in blogs) and is pretty cool. The book provides concise arguments to questions you and your friends might have.

Let me know any other music/videos/blogs you find and I'll add them to the next one. (Am I the only one who just noticed the fox in the firefox logo...)

Thursday, 10 July 2014


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

A passage I'm sure everyone knows, it is one of the most well known passages of the whole bible. But in that short sentence its describing something we cant even begin to imagine. All of creation every star in the sky, every distant galaxy, every blade of grass, every tree, all the gems deep in the earth - everything - God made it all.  

I was recently lucky enough to spend the weekend away in Arthur's pass with TKY. Its roughly a 2 hour drive outside of Christchurch and is a beautiful place. As much as I love the city, with it's mixed bag of people and the different building styles and all, sometimes it's really nice to get out of the city and see more of God's creation. We spent one afternoon walking up to Devils Punchbowl, a stunning waterfall. Surrounded by mountains looking at the waterfall, my mind was again hit with the fact that God made it. Everything I was seeing was created by the same God that loves and knows me

So, if you get the chance sometime in the next week, leave the warmth of the house and venture out to find some of God's creation in nature. It really is breathtaking.