Monday, 2 November 2015


Where are you looking for God? 

I've been challenged over the past year of how I'm living my life, and my faith. 
Am I only feeling God's presence when I'm listening to Christian music, or saving bible verses to my phone to set as backgrounds? Is reading the blog posts on here, and other Christian forums where I'm getting my dose of faith? Is my quick prayer to God in the moments that I need a little extra, or the bible verses I post as my status on Facebook, or as my caption or bio on Instagram where I convince myself and others of my belief? 
In our life, it is so normalised to live so many aspects of your life through the apps on our phone, and the various websites we are a part of. It's a platform for our opinions and ideas and thoughts and feelings. 
It's also a place where we are most influenced. Our thinking is challenged, but in a way where it is very easy to be influenced. Things we used to find inappropriate or wrong, become normalised and acceptable. 

"Oh, it's part of life; this is 2015! We don't have to be confined by the traditions and rules of the past." 

YES. TRUE. But where have you drawn the line? 
Are you modernising the Bible to what you want to believe?

Where have you placed God:
Have you put Him in Church, in your Christian music, in your Bible, in your prayer times?
And, have you left Him there? 

God is not another that we can confine to certain areas of our life.
We leave Him out of our social lives; Social Media is our space, we have made it a platform for our promotion. 
But sometimes I get this sudden realisation that not every one of my friends will end up in heaven with me. Instead, they will be in hell, forever. 
That scares me. It should scare all of us into an urgency to use all we can to challenge others to question the life they are living, and find the one who gave us this life. 

I started this post off aiming to question the various areas we are searching for validation of our faith, and the places we are looking to find God, but I seem to have strayed from that slightly. So here's to veering back towards that:

Something that humans look for is validation. Ask anyone, and you'll find out that somewhere along their journey, they have sought for acceptance, confirmation, affirmation. Our number of followers on Tumblr, Instagram; our likes on Facebook, our views on Snapchat; all a source of validation of ourselves, but only for a moment. 

The validation of who we are that lasts forever, comes only from one thing, and that is God. 
Only God.

Whenever I need to 'get a dose of Jesus' I go outside, into the hills, fields, around His natural creation. Yet I spend hours inside, on my phone, on tv, on so many things where God isn't. 

It's more comfortable for us to delve into things we know rather than a God who is so powerful. 
I know how to edit a photo, upload it, write a quirky caption, and how to get likes. 
I don't know where god is taking me with my life, or what he wants me to do. 

God knows us inside and out and outside and in. Basically, He knows so so so much about us, our lives, who we are truly and that is scary. 
Online, we can make ourselves be the people we want to be. 
I want to be known as a carefree spirit, only sharing positivity and creativity. But that's only part of me. I don't want to share my days where I feel ugly, and sick, and down and just plain crap. 

Online, I can portray the side of me I want to be known as. And not many people know the other side.

However, God does. The affirmation we so desperately long for can be found so easily in one source yet we continue to search and spend time on a variety of social media looking for that one thing that's right there in front of us; in God.

I guess what I'm challenging is where are you turning to, to distract yourself from God.

Where is it that you choose to lose yourself in to block out the little voice that encourages you to pursue Him?

What can you change about your daily life, to find Him and in turn, find yourself?

Here are some verses I find particularly relevant to this: 

I set my heart and mind on things above, not earthly things. This gives me peace. Colossians 3:1-2
I guard my heart because it determines the course of my life. Proverbs 4:23
As I lose my life for Jesus’ sake, I find it. Matthew 10:39
I experience true life when I deny myself, turn from my selfish ways and follow Jesus. Matthew 16:24-25

Turn your face from your screen, and to the God who holds more light than your LED iPhone. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Little Things In Life

Sometimes we have bad times in life, we go through seasons where everything is hard and the stress just gets to us.  A lot of us will be looking in the face of exams and other pressures that come with the wind up of the year, life can be hard and stress amounts. However this week as I was walking down the road after a tough and busy week, I was listening to this song as the sun shone on my face and I realised that even though sometimes life can be tricky, God doesn't abandon us. I look at my life and the circumstances I was born into and the grace that has been given to me by the living God and I cannot help but smile. While looking up this video of the song to link it in this post, I watched the video for the first time and was so struck about how lucky I am to live in Christichurch New Zealand, with a house to live in and a family to love me, and despite what I am going through I have been so blessed and have so much to be thankful for, and sometimes we can lose sight of that when times are tough.

 Big Daddy Weave - Overwhelmed

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Are We Restricting Our Worship?

How are we restricting our worship to God?

I’ve been pondering this recently whilst reading the book ‘unceasing worship’ by Harold M.Best (which I highly recommend!).
Harold articulates so very well that
“addiction to a style inevitably leads to a fear of variety. Are we afraid to assume that God is the Lord of continuous variety & first-day newness? “Not in my style, therefore I cannot worship”. Represents this particular idol, I realize that style is important. I realize further that each local assembly must make conscience-based choices about style. And I ultimately realize that no style can begin to capture the grace & glory of the subject and object of it’s expression. The foolishness of style-centered worship is exposed by the nature of God’s creatorhood namely that he does not confine himself to one vocabulary or one language.”

The way he expresses this way in which we confine our heart of worship to particular styles really made me think. We do tend to adopt our favourite styles of worship and begin to limit our experience of God’s spirit to the times we worship in this style. I’m a culprit myself of this mindset, falling so in love with some very free contemporary worship styles , that some hymns and old Chris Tomlin songs don’t seem to  thrill me anymore. Visa, versa, I’ve seen many reject the new worship styles of Bethel, Hillsong etc. Because they don’t fit their model of how worship should be. Or even their preference of how they experience God’s presence. I can understand this to an extent, as we all have particular preference when it comes to musicality and worship atmosphere, and lyrical content. What I have been challenged on is that God’s presence is not limited to musical expression, and it sure doesn’t only turn up when oceans starts playing, or when your favourite hymn is belted out. God’s presence is available to you whether you like the worship set or not, so reach for it!

 Call on God to break the stylistic preference barriers that restrict you in giving him the worship he deserves. I had one of the most intimate experiences in God’ presence the other Sunday morning after reflecting on the restrictions I’ve been placing on his presence during worship. The worship time was by no means seamless, and I knew only about a 3rd of the songs being played. But I trusted that God’s presence was in the room, and I was thirsty to experience it tangibly. He took me to a wide open space, and I felt fully refreshed and reminded of the expanse of his love. 

Amidst these reflections on worship, I have been yearning to learn more about how to worship God with the truths of his word. I have found a new love in old hymns, as they carry such truth grounding in the word of God, they so magnificently serve as a tool to give God to worship he deserves. I also still hold such a love and joy for the new worship songs coming out that invite us to take time to dwell in God’s presence and sing our own hearts song to him. I guess most of all I am excited to see a church that incorporates all styles of worship, modern or traditional, from all countries, all ages, because that is the worship God deserves! Our own personal heart cry woven into a beautiful offering of worship to the God most high. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Worry, Faith and Seed

Worry, Faith and Seeds
If faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, can it make those same seeds germinate (grow)?

This is a question that has plagued many a Year 13 student at Middleton Grange over the past few weeks. The task was simple: grow radish seeds in different salt solutions and see which ones grow faster. At the time it seemed more like your year 5 science project than a Year 13 assessment. I could not have been more wrong. Dying seeds, spilt salt solutions and irregular growth were only three of the disasters that happened to our class in the space of two weeks. No growth, no results, no chance of getting anything above an achieved. The stress began.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Despite the lack of natural resources in our world, worry still manages to come by the bucketful. If there is a rare moment of peace in your life, it is not long before stress manages to rear its ugly head. In fact, when I do feel relaxed, the stress of others makes me wonder why I am so calm… so I start looking for reasons to worry.  Whether it’s your school, work, friends or family (or in my case radish seeds), we always have something reserved to be worried about. “I’m okay, just stressed,” is the new norm.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

But as Christians we are set apart. We are called to be different and show the confidence that we have in our Father. We trust God to save us from our sins, to deliver us from the evil one, to love us despite our constant mistakes… yet believe helping our work situation is beyond his jurisdiction. Sure I can believe Christ died on the cross to save my sins, but that he can speak into *insert problem here*… not so much. How come we trust God in the extraordinary but not the everyday?

 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)

Can you think of any problems in your life that are more powerful than death? Life? Angels or demons? Anything in creation? No? Then God can handle it. This does not mean that everything will go well all the time, but rather that nothing will ruin God’s plan for us.

My seeds may not grow perfectly. But I am convinced that if life nor death, neither angels nor demons can stop God’s love and plans for me, then a couple of radish seeds won’t stand a chance. This is the assurance I have in Christ.  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Who's in control, God or you?

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. – Proverbs 19:21

Well, it sure has been a while since any of us have written on here and so today I thought I’d share with you something that’s challenged and has also had a large role in my life;  the idea of control.

It’s hard to admit this, but I am someone who loves to have control. It’s how I am wired. Assessing every situation that comes in my way whether that be past, present or future and how these affect me is something that I subconsciously do. I love analysing how situations that present themselves to me could work out against or for my benefit and how these situations will affect others.  Ultimately when something different, out of the ordinary or challenging arises I try to rein in the situation and see how I, Beth Walters can attain power over such issues. In doing this I can stay in my comfort zone; feeling safe and secure and at ease because I am in control of everything. This pleases me, because when everything is in my reach and going smoothly life seems pleasurable, enjoyable… but I’ve noticed that such peace doesn’t remain long and soon I go back to scrambling everything together so I can once more feel… safe, secure and at ease. 

The more things go out of my control the more I try to be in control. It’s a terrible cycle that soon began to rule my life.

The moment of realisation came when I felt God was calling me to step out of my comfort zone. Which meant stepping out of this self-constructed box of safety, security and easiness. Which is hard, very hard especially when you are someone who loves to be in control. My whole life I’ve mostly been able to control situations. But I started to wonder how control, God’s plans for my life, and him calling me to step out of my comfort zone go hand in hand with one another?

The answer I soon learnt was they don’t really.

Well not as easily as I thought, they don’t exactly mix together well like when I bake a batch of biscuits. 

Because the more I try to be in control the more I block God out; which results in me being more  stressed, overwhelmed and worried.  It took me so long to realise this. Realise that I am a child of a father that created me, a child of a father who guides my every step…

Psalm 139:13 ‘For you created my inmost being; you knitted me together in my mothers womb’

So surely he knows what is best for me and he knows my breaking point, my limit and he will never push me past that.

See the thing was I knew what God wanted me to do. He wanted me to step out of my comfort zone, to take up new opportunities and to embrace challenges. And of course I wanted to do that! Wanted to follow God and yet every time I tried to the result would be that I’d end up overwhelmed and tired.  I knew that outside these walls were far greater things, far more exciting and thrilling opportunities; that yes- excited me but also scared me. Although I wanted to remain inside my box because the unknown and uncontrollable meant that I wouldn’t be able to be in control what it did mean was that I would have to fall into God’s arms and trust him. 

God soon showed me though that when I let go and let him be in control of the unknown, when I let God lead my so desired footsteps; spectacular things can occur.

Like Proverbs 16:19 says ‘The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.’

You see God establishes our steps, we have hearts and desires and the Lord knows them. However when we present them to God and willingly let go and let God, we allow him to open doors that we’d never been able to open in our own strength.

As I began to let God carry me in our same desired direction instead of trying to get to the destination by myself, things started happening that I could never have dreamed of. Doors that I could only dream of opening started to open. For example, speaking opportunities, opportunities to go to conferences and even down to every day conversations. Instead of seeing my hand trying aimlessly to control situations I began to see God’s. Such so that I became so much more at peace when situations arose because I knew that I didn’t have to worry for we have a God that can take worry and turn it into a deep peace. It was a peace so different to the self-attained peace that occurred when I had finally controlled an arisen situation.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus died so that we could spend eternity with God, he died for our sins and he also carried our burdens on the cross. Jesus died so that we could be free, free of stress, free of worry, free of wanting to control.

You see I still do overthink at times. I may have many plans for my life but ultimately God is good,  God is there and God is my guidance, my anchor and my rock. He is my director. God knows you, knows me; more than anyone else ever could. He knows our desires, what our passions are and what we want to do with our lives. 

Image result for diamond
The beauty to the story is that when we let go and offer these to God we allow him to turn beautiful dreams into spectacular circumstances. We allow him to knock down our self built comfort walls. We allow him to guides us into the unknown. There's something beautiful about the territory outside of our comfort zone. Something so marvelous. That's where character building happens,where God sculpts, refines, challenges, stretches and grows us. We allow him to open up our hearts and refine us into diamonds. And yes the fire may be tough but diamonds can't occur without heat.

Job 23:10

'But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold'

Psalm 66:10-12

'For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried... we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

God never promised walking hand in hand with him would be easy, but boy is it worth it.

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

And so,

My question is who's in control?

You or God?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Waiting for the next season to come.

I’ve been pondering the milestones of life recently, and how knitted into society it is to reach certain goals. Next year I turn 20, and although it is commonly said that ‘age is just a number’, there seems to be many underlying goals that come along with this new number I’m going to adopt. Whether we like to admit it or not, there are certain age brackets that link to certain achievements as we pass through the years. I feel they’re kind of like little fires that burn away unnoticed until a friend ties the knot with their partner, or scores their dream job, and we suddenly catch sight of them and are burned with the feeling of failure.

As I ponder these achievements I see myself reaching one day, questions start to bubble up about when I will find the eyes of my husband, or the job offer that fits, when will I feel content with my figure, or travel to a new place?
I often present these questions to God, and he gently tells me to have patience, and that things will come in their due time when I am ready for them. Now patience isn’t something we hold to dearly in the society we live in, with fast food and speedy technology, we find ourselves expectant that God will deliver at the same rate, right?

It’s a harsh reality I’ve only been coming to grips with recently, and it may not be something you’ve come to think about. As I look back on the decisions I made and the paths I’ve taken I’ve come to notice that where I’ve seen the most fruit, is where I’ve patiently waited on God. One thing I’d like to address it that often waiting doesn’t mean literally sitting by your bedside in hope that God will magically give you the ability to run a company and you’ll be rich within the following month.
The same goes for women, in that waiting for a husband doesn't often mean sitting in your room digging into song of songs in hope that one day God will bring a man who’ll recite verses such as 'You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.' (Song of Songs 4:7) 

I feel like when God instructs you to be patient, he wants you to work within the parameters he has currently allowed you to work in, and hold faith that in his timing he will extend those parameters and you’ll be able to step into the new season he has for you. 

Whether this be faithfully serving in your worship team, until you are able to step into leading, or involving yourself in social circles that will allow you to mingle with people until God anoints a time of particular growth in friendship with one person. I’d encourage you to cast off the worries you once held, the burdens from the past, and don’t become anxious or impatient about the future plans God has for you either, but instead direct all or your energy into the present season God has placed you in. Begin working really hard in your workplace, your school, you friendship circles, and God will honour this and bring blessing upon you. You’re in this particular season for a reason; I’d challenge you to ask God how he can use you in it. What skills has he given you to impact the people around you? Are pushing too hard to move onto the next stage, or are you becoming sluggish because of your fear of the future? Seek God in your current season and have faith that you are there for a reason, how is God wanting to use you?

‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
                         (Ecclesiastes 3:1-22)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Relevance, and the Integrity of the Gospel

As Christians, once sinners, saved by Grace though Jesus on the cross, we long to see others come to know God and be saved also. Jesus dwells within us, we are his holy people and because of that we are filled with love for others and a desire to see them be given the same gift of eternal life that we have been given by God. Our true home is no longer here on earth, but we are citizens of heaven, adopted children of God. In our now relatively short time left on this earth Jesus commissions us to make disciples of all nations. So in a culture that seems to be drifting further and further away from the desired created order of God, a culture that is self serving, full of temptation, pleasures and false fulfilment -"water" if you like - that will only leave one thirsty again, how do we guide people towards Gods river of living water, which will never leave them thirsty again? (John 4:13-14)

Should we take the approach of people like Rob Bell? Mega church pastor in the US who's recently made some very controversial claims about the church and culture in regards to the issue of homosexuality. Claiming that because modern culture has moved on and changed, so should the church. He was recently quoted on Oprah as saying "I think culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defence”. Is this the right approach? I would strongly argue no, the bible clearly shows itself to be the true living word of God, all scripture being God breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). The bible, when studied and understood is also very clear on the way God created things and the way in which man disrupts this creative order through sin, of which the wages are death (Romans 6:23) and Jesus is the only way back to God (John 14:6-7). I’ve only recently begun to study the bible for all it’s worth, understanding it’s entire narrative sweep and context. it's Reliability, authorship, relevance, authority and application and already it’s very clear to me that Scripture pulls no punches in laying out what’s holy to God and what isn’t.

So instead should we take the Westboro Baptist church kind of approach? Holding big judgemental and condemning signs up, preaching a message of Gods judgement, wrath, hatred and hell? Well no, Jesus clearly taught to love thy neighbour as thyself (Mark 12:31), that them without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7), that it was the job of the Holy spirit to convict people of their sins (John 16:8), and for us to not Judge others (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus was also known to spend time “reclining” in fellowship with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). 

So as young Christians, battling and seeking to see souls won for christ against the tide of modernity, where is the balance between relevance and integrity, popularity and truth, scriptural application and modern culture? Here’s a few things based on my experience and thought that I’ve found helpful in having meaning conversations with people about the things that matter, from good close friends, to strangers I’ve met for the first time. By no means are they gospel and I’d be keen to here others thoughts in the comments below.

No two conversations or relationships are the same, God has created everybody different for a reason and with that I think we have to always look to be sensitive to where people are at before we decide how to best show them the love of Christ through the things that we say. Things like peoples personalities, backgrounds, family life, education and current situations or struggles are important for us to gauge in order to know what is going to draw them towards Gods truth and love, and be able to avoid what might push them away all together. The level of relationship you have with that person often determines how well they are going to respect what you have to say and it’s going allow you to know what areas of their life need truth and love spoken into them. Remember that first and foremost Jesus called us to Love thy neighbour, not Judge them. He is the ultimate Judge and one day we will all stand before him and be Judged according to our sins. Those of us covered by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus will inherit his kingdom, that’s the only criteria. Jesus said “Nobody comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). With this in mind, I believe it’s important to above all, always show love to others in the things that we say, understanding we aren’t above them because they are in sin and we aren’t, or we’re christians and they aren’t, but understand we were ALL once sinners in need of grace too. God will deal with the sin in his own time through his own means, we are called to love the sinner and that’s what leads people to want to be in relationship with God in the first place.

So does all that mean we compromise on Gods holiness? Absolutely not, The bible is very clear on what pleases God and what doesn’t, but before anything we should be seeking to apply that Holiness to our own lives through relationship with Jesus and allowing him to change and mould us to be more like him, We should remove the log from our own eye before seeking to remove the speck from our brothers eye (Matthew 7:3-5). God hates sin, he grieves when the wonderfully perfect world he created becomes warped and imperfect through the choices of his created beings to turn away from him (Genesis 6:6). But telling people about their sin that God so hates isn’t the command the Jesus has asked us to follow. That’s a job for the convicting power of the Holy spirit, not us. There’s a time and a place for correction and guidance away from sin and towards God, one I believe primarily belongs between believing christians, in strong relationship with one another, within the church.

So what does this look like lived out, in our everyday conversations? One big thing I’ve learned is that whether they are your best friend since kindergarten or you’ve just met them at the bus stop, one thing that really helps, and I can’t stress this enough, is LISTEN. Listen to where people are at, hear what they have to say, hear their opinions and views even if they may clash with our own. Do this first and you’d be amazed how much more willing people will be to hear what you have to say about the truth and love of Jesus. It’s so easy at times to just jump straight to that bible verse, or to our own views, what we believe God says about what’s right and whats wrong. I’ve learned the hard way through my years as a young christian when I was in high school that this very, very rarely, it fact pretty much never, leads to fruitful and meaningful conversations. We must also remember that the gospel message is not a pre written script, and although as I said earlier the truth of it shouldn’t ever be compromised, there is still a unique and sensitive way of sharing it for every single conversation and every single relationship. God speaks to us in our own way, his relationship with us is unique and unlike any other. Therefore the way in which God uses us to share the gospel and make disciples of all nations is unique and personal to every situation and individual too. 

With all this in mind, Above all we should pray. Pray for our friends, pray for our family that are yet to know God, pray for meaningful encounters with people and chances to show Gods love and compassion, pray for the right words to say and not to say, pray for prophetic insight and sensitivity to the holy spirit in everything we do. Pray for our nations and our Governments, rejoice with God in break through, and battle alongside him through trials. Our time on this earth is to short to waste so get out there into the fields, they are ripe for harvest! (John 4:35)

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Mystery of Suffering

One of the most mysterious topics that one may try to examine is the presence of great suffering in this world. The El-Shaddai is (wrongfully) assumed to be evil or unwilling to intervene because of such suffering. It seems apparent that a God who is omnipotent and omnipresent should be able and willing to prevent such suffering, shouldn't He?

Most suffering can be traced back to a source, and this suffering is not hard to understand. When people suffer at the hands war, evil people, or human greed, it makes sense. God gave man the ability to make his own decisions, and man has used this freedom for evil. Likewise, when we suffer persecution it is understandable as we live in a fallen world, fighting against the power of darkness which attempts to fight us back. Both of these situations make sense, and although hard and painful at times, they can be understood. But what about suffering that is easily preventable by a God who is all-powerful and in control of all things? What about those situations where God could have warned you to walk a different path and not get yourself into a mess? Or those preventable accidents we fall victim to? I'm sure we can all think of times where we think that God could have made things turn out differently to help us avoid suffering, but I am boldly going to suggest that there are times when God wants us to suffer.

Now don't get it twisted, I'm not saying that God causes our suffering or enjoys it, no good Father enjoys the suffering of His children. Jesus said that he was the perfect representation of the Father, anyone who had seen him had seen the Father (John 14:9-11). Jesus healed every person who came to him, ruined every funeral that he attended, calmed every storm he came across and restored societal outcasts like tax-collectors and adulterers. As this is the way that Jesus felt about the suffering of his people, this is the same way Father God feels about it too. It is therefore inconceivable to believe that God brings suffering upon anybody, as He is a Father who gives good gifts (Luke 11:11-13). However, it is clear that God does allow his people to suffer at certain times.

Read through the Bible and you will find that the closer your relationship to God is, the more you will suffer, in fact one of the things that Jesus did promise us is that in this world we would suffer tribulations (John 16:33). David ran in fear of his life from Saul for most of his reign as king; all but one of Jesus' disciples were martyred; Paul was stoned, flogged, imprisoned and shipwrecked; Isaiah was sawn in half and the list goes on and on. God's people suffer, and God himself suffered with them. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do believe that some things can only be achieved through suffering.  I believe that God wants us to suffer at specific times for specific purposes. God doesn't enjoy this, but He uses these times to maximum effect.  It was during David's time on the run from Saul that God shaped him into the great king he was to become. It was the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, and the subsequent  scattering of the believers that lead to large growth in the early church. And it was through Jesus' death upon a cross that we are set free from our sin and gain adoption into God's family. It is during these hard and painful times that God moves at His most powerful - as God's power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Some of the most dynamic and powerful moments in my life have been when God has allowed me to endure such sufferings. Nobody enjoys those times when you are walking through it, but these are the moments where God changes you in ways that He otherwise couldn't.

So whenever you come up a against a mountain, you should always pray that God moves it; it's much easier to walk in a valley then climb a mountain. Praise God if He moves the mountain for you and you do not need to suffer through it, but it doesn't always happen this way - God didn't move it for Jesus when he prayed earnestly in the Garden of Gethsemane. But if God doesn't move the mountain and you are forced to climb it, know that it will not be in vain. Suffering brings a perspective that is otherwise unseen, and gives insight unique to its circumstances. It is only upon a mountain top that a valley can be seen for what it is.

Life is not always smooth-sailing and enduring hardship is part of the path we must walk as believers. We must learn to embrace the truth that although we may not always comprehend our suffering, God will use it to bring about his glorious purposes, even though the journey may be tough. He's been doing this a lot longer than we have and He knows what He's doing, and we need to trust Him in that.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

We can't just do nothing

(Warning - contains a shameless plug for the 40 hour famine & world vision)

We live in a world full of
and often we got so caught up in these problems like,
'wheres my hairbush?' & 'I skipped breakfast and i'm hungry' & 'I lost my pen.'    And im not taking away from the fact that these problems can be REALLY ANNOYING, and can cause issues for us, but it's always good to look at the big picture, and in the sceme of things, they aren't as important as we can start to believe they are.

 We ALSO live in a world where people are lucky to get one meal a day, people who are starving and have no clean drinking water. 

45. 5 % of children in the world lack basics needs like food, shelter and clean drinking water, thats 1 billion children. 

 36% of Africans live on less than US$1 a day, 50% of the world live on less than $5 a day

1.1 Billion people living in developing countries have inadequite access to water.

& in the minute or so its taken you to read this far, 9 children have died due to malnutrition related illnesses or of starvation. 

These people are desperately in need of our help, and sometimes these issues seem like questions with no answers, & yes, you are right in thinking that there is no answer to these issues. Its very easy to solve a problem and making anothe one ten times worse in the process. But we can't just do nothing & there are ways we can make a massive & positive impact on people's lives that are so difficult now. 

The head, heart, hands theory:
The head heart hands theory is very simple. It states that your heart for a problem, your knowledge about a problem & practically what you do to help fix it. When we have a heart for something, we should bring our knowledge of the situation and what we're doing about it up to the same level. For example:
If you have a heart for young girls stuck in the sex trafficking industry overseas, you cannot just rush over to Cambodia an try & solve the problem, you will probably do more harm then good & break yourself emotionally. So a really good way to go about it is to: 

Heart: spend a lot of time praying that God will continue to grow this passion to do something about this problem. 
Hands: take oppertunities to do things in your own city or place you go to school or work to fundraise & send money to people and organisations already involved in helping the cause
Head: Research the issue, talk to people and organisations already involved and learn as much as you can. But most importantly pray the God gives you the opportunities & that he leads you where he wants you to go. 

(Here's your work vision plug)
The 40 hour famine is coming up & it's a really practical & simple way for you to make a big impact on people and children quite literally on the brink of death in Bangladesh, and we can make an impact from right here in Christchurch. My advice:

The famine is on the 22- 24 May 2015, where we give something up for 40 hours, usually this is food, but can also be technology, talking e.t.c.

A little bit of money can go a loooooong way!!
$2 can buy 50 nutrient sachets to help severly malnourished children gain weight. 
$10 can help a family of 5 start a vege garden to help grow nutrious food

Imagine 500 of those $2 coins,  500 of those $10. Imagine the differece that can make. Now imagine the difference that half a million people that do the famine raising $10 would make? The effects would be MASSIVE. So I leave you with this question:

Will you sit back and do nothing? Or will you take a stand and help change the world?

Here is where you can add yourself to the tky famine group  



Sunday, 22 February 2015

A City On A Hill

Geographically speaking, Christchurch is far from being situated on a hill. We lay in more of a valley with surrounding hills and mountains that tower over us, but yet I felt God speak this phrase to me very clearly yesterday evening. I quickly hopped on the web and searched the passage of scripture that this came from.
In Matthew 5:14 it says

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.’ (NIV)

February the 22nd marks the four year anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed this city, but it also marks a time where we became the most malleable form in which God can use us- I will touch in this more in a moment.  We were suddenly in the public eye, news channels jumped on this disaster and it spread like wildfire. I feel this is what really placed us as a city on a hill. This scripture will continue to ring true as we rebuild, slowly building up fresh infrastructure, birthed from minds that suddenly had a whole canvas of a city to work on. Community projects have blossomed like pop up dance-o-mats, poetry walls, and outside movie screenings have adorned this city with hope during this ongoing restoration project. This rebuild will not be a quiet task, it will draw attention no only nationally but internationally and it is pushing me to continue prayerfully that God’s hand is upon this whole process. If we are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, I want to be a city that shines the light of Christ from every rubble ruined street corner, and every sleek new office building. I desire to be a part of something that has Christ as the centre, and know that if God can speak the stars into existence, he can take the brokenness of this city and make it whole again.

This leads me onto something I touched on before, being malleable in God’s hands. After the quake we became our weakest, as we mourned over loves ones and watched bricks that built up our homes and buildings, tumble around us. The city became a mess of road cones and tears, and we watched as we became very different versions of ourselves than we once knew. But not only did God speak to me about being a city on a hill, the thing that hit me the most this evening was two verses a few above that read,

3You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (THE MSG)

How incredible is it that God loves our brokenness? A person who is willing to become completely undone for the sake of being put back together to become more like him is someone who is treasured in God’s eyes. This evening I began to see God’s heart in the way I view this city. I see how I am intrigued by the fading shop signs and smashed bookcases behind windows. I look upon broken dollhouse-like buildings, and I am reminded of my own brokenness and how lovingly God looks upon my every fault, knowing he has work to do in me. I see how when this city and it’s people are at the end of their rope, there is far more God can do because we are willing for him to take the reins. I see how when we have lost what is most important to us, the embrace of our father is that much more comforting and needed. But most of all, I see myself in these broken city streets and hear my Dad call me his child and let me know the passion I have for this broken city is the passion he has for me. He wants me to run into his arms when I reach the end of my tether, or when I feel I am crumbling in the way this city did, because in times like these he will grow me the most.
I encourage you to be attentive to what God is speaking to you about, and don’t ever feel discounted because of your faults of weaknesses. For when we are at our weakest, it is at this place we are most able to be used by our Father- and he can use you in incredible ways.