Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Dear friends and partners,

It is time to have a break over the Christmas and New Year Season.  Thank you for all your support and encouragement over this past year and in all that the Lord has been doing.  It has been an amazing year full of challenge and change and seeing God do all that he said he would do as we stepped out in faith in what we believed he was saying and seeing him come through.  It has been an eventful year!  We wonder what will be revealed over the next month or two?

We are excited about 2013 and as He shows us more we will keep you to date step by step as He reveals it.  So far just continuing on the words of 'preparing for expansion' and more recently believing for 'surprising and perhaps radical changes' but have no idea what that looks like yet.  So its like opening Christmas presents as you shake the package, get excited about what it is and try to work it out but just make guesses, but at the proper time all will be revealed. :)  And so its a bit like that at the moment with the Lord, we are excited about what it is to come, have some idea of the shape and what it may be, but waiting for the full revealing of what it is.

So many blessings to you all this Christmas as you look toward what the Lord has for each one of you this coming year and give thanks for what has been.

With love to you all,
Jim, Sarah and Kate

Monday, 3 December 2012

Nailed to the cross other peoples judgements

We nailed Jesus to the cross with our judgements, our misunderstandings, our misinterpretations and yet today we continue to do the same thing to those around us.  We nail people to a cross, we crucify people with our judgements towards them, our thoughts or attitudes, our misunderstandings or interpretation of things.  We hold people in a place that they cannot get out of - but for Jesus!

I was sitting in church the other day and while the pastor was preaching this thought came to me and I looked at my own life and the judgements that people have made toward me which have held me in that place.  It's a bit like a smoker feeling the judgements of how people feel about them smoking and because of that judgement it moves them to rebel even more and continue doing that as they fight for the right to be who they are.  I really felt this was deep revelation that the Lord was showing me.  Why am I the way I am, what are the judgements that have been made toward me that I have picked up along the way that I have felt in the spirit and in which I have rebelled to that judgement and continued on in something because I want people to love me for who I am, not what they want me to become.

I had a dream a while ago and in this dream the pastor of a church had a big speaker come in and he received an offering but the speaker told him to give that offering to us and to offer us a preaching slot but the pastor looked at me dressed in the clothes I was in and decided in his heart that we didn't need the money and gave it to someone else rather that what the speaker told him to do.  He also didn't offer us the preaching slot.  This came about because of his judgement toward us and what he saw on the outside not on what he was told by the speaker to do.

After having this dream I processed this and wondered if I had to change anything in me because at the time we needed the money and we were praying for doors to open to preach and so the dream was relevant but because of the clothes and his judgements toward us, he didn't give it to us.  I asked the Lord whether I needed to change my clothes or my hair and he said no, he had called me to dress like this because earlier in the year the Lord talked to me about dressing in bold clothes, but I had no bold clothes and we live by faith and didn't have the money, so after someone else spoke to me the same thing that he believed the Lord was saying to me to dress up and wear bold clothes, I said to the Lord, "well Lord I believe you are telling me to wear bold clothes, so you are either going to have to provide the clothes or the money for the clothes", and by that afternoon God had provided the clothes, all beautiful expensive labelled clothes and bold and so it was confirmation that the Lord wanted me to dress up and to look smart.

James 2:1. "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favouritism.  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "you stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated and become judges with evil thoughts?
After having my dream I realize this too works both ways, we can judge on the outside and assume people are doing well and so not respond to what the Lord can be saying because of what we are judging by what we see by sight, but not by the spirit.  Something the Lord has taught me over time and something I am still learning to do is to move by faith and not question all the time in my own understanding and step out on what the Lord says to me.

So in those judgements we have made, we stop what the Lord may be wanting to do through me for others.  But the measure we judge it will be measured to you.  Because I am prophetic I pick up judgements towards me in the spirit really easily but the Lord has been teaching me how to surrender to him the criticisms, the judgements, the things that don't line up with his words and what he would say, to him, and so not come into a place of rebellion and striving to be who I am, despite what people may think, because of wanting to be accepted by people.  That desire in our lives to be accepted by man, wanted by man, will always leave us in a place of disappointment because the only one we can trust is Jesus.  Jesus took all those judgements towards us to the cross, he took all those misunderstanding and misinterpretations to the cross, he took all the hurtful things for us and buried it in the grave, only to rise victorious and overcome and now is seated in heavenly realms far above all of that.  And because we believe in Jesus that too is our position, no longer nailed to the cross with judgements etc. and so we need to leave them behind and not pick up what would come your way either physically or spiritually.  I can feel the judgements come to me in the spirit but I choose to give them to Jesus, they are his because I am hidden in him, they are not mine and we can trust that Jesus knows everything and sees everything and that he is our vindicator and he knows all of our wounds, all of our needs and he is our healer, he is our restorer of everything that the enemy would like to steal from us and so we wait for him to do that knowing and believing by faith he will as we put our trust in him.

James 4:11. Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.  When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you - who are you to judge your neighbour?"

In writing this I too realise that I have judgements on a daily basis that I make towards others but as the Lord is teaching me, I am releasing others from the judgements I am making toward them.  God is growing me as I learn the revelation of how it feels towards me and so I am trying not to do it to others and he enables me to see others how he sees them.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Photos of the worship night on the 28th

I'm going to make mistakes

Can I make a mistake?  Do I allow others the freedom to make a mistake?  Do people have to always have it right?  In growing in our walk with Christ and with others we are going to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, offend people with our words unknowingly, not live up to people's expectations that we didn't even know they had and when that happens what happens to those relationships?  Do we cut people off, hold offense over them, hold them at arms length because they have hurt me or offended me?  Have a different attitude with them, not release them into ministry?

Just to let you know I am going to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, possibly offend you with something I may say but know that my heart, along with most other people's hearts out there, is not to offend you, is not to say the wrong thing, is not intentionally doing these things but unintentionally I may do and when I do what are you going to do with it?

Freedom is allowing yourself to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, not have it all together, allowing yourself to get it wrong, not question every word you have spoken wondering if you have said something right or something that might offend.  Freedom is the ability to go to someone and say they hurt you by the comment they said and know that when you do that you will still have a relationship with that person because there is grace and understanding that none of us get it right all the time, that none of us are perfect although made perfect in Christ.  Freedom is to bring a word in church and have someone question something you brought and not feel condemned because theologically you didn't have it all right because you learnt something that might help you grow or challenge you to what you believe.  Freedom is to be who YOU are the way that God made YOU to be.  You are not someone else, you are YOU, uniquely crafted, completely different from someone else and how they think, work or act.  You are beautiful, you make mistakes, you grow from those mistakes, you learn, you change, don't run away when you might get it wrong, or say the wrong thing but come into freedom in those areas because Christ doesn't condemn you, he picks you up when you fall down and you learn.
Gal 5:1 "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery".

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Some thoughts on dealing with offences

How do I deal with offenses?

The other morning the Lord showed me something in a dream where I had caused offense to someone and so I asked the Lord what it was that I had done that created that offense.  There was nothing that came to mind that I felt I needed to go to that person to apologise for, nothing that was obvious, but then the Lord showed me.  I had judged that person in my heart and in so doing was holding that person in a different light than I had previously.  That may not seem much and I know we all do it, but if we truly love people then we no longer see them with the thing we have judged them for but rather we see them as Christ sees them.  Free from sin, free from judgement with all the possibilities, hopes and future that there is in them.  We see all their good qualities, the good characteristics.  We no longer see the sin or not even the sin, but the thing we think they may need to change in, but we see them as Christ sees them, beautifully and wonderfully created with a hope and a future, we see the gold and not the dirt.

This is huge if you stop and see the ramifications of that judgement in my heart.  As a leader in ministry, do we then allow that person to continue on ministering?  When we judge someone in their sin or in their weakness, or in their personality, we say in our hearts "prove yourself before we allow you to minister to others" hence bringing people under law again. Or we don't trust you, in effect saying you have to have it all together before I will let you do anything again.  It is no different in our lives with the people we judge and then hold them at arms length in our lives because we see them differently than we did prior to that failure or difference.  But Jesus never did that.  He knew what was in Judas's heart and yet he still allowed him to hold the money.  He knew that Peter was going to deny him three times and yet he still built his church on him.  He knew we were going to crucify him on the cross but he still went to the cross saying father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.   1 Cor 13 always hoping, always trusting..

Proverbs 18:19  An offended brother is like a fortified city whose walls cannot be broken down.

What do we do with offense?  Whether we have received it or if we have given it to others?
Like in proverbs we become this fortified city and don't let people in because of fear of hurt or for whatever reason, lack of trust etc.  But the Lord doesn't want us to go down that track.  He wants us to learn to deal with offenses so that our hearts remain open to him and to others.

Jeremiah 12:5-6  "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? "  The Lord is wanting to teach us how to deal with things like offenses so like this scripture above we don't get worn out in the safe ground so that when things come from other places we know how to deal with it in such a way that it doesn't effect us. 

We grow tired and weary  in our own strength but the Lord wants to teach us that when we trust in him to sort things out, when we let him be the judge and the vindicator, we will rise up on eagles wings and not grow tired and weary,  that we will run and not grow faint.

So on a practical level how do we deal with offenses?  Here are some thoughts that may help you.  Obviously not the be all and end all to how to deal with offenses, but some things that help me on a daily basis, and may help you.

For me, firstly I need to check my heart and see what offenses there are?  Search my heart oh God, show me any wicked way in me?
Then realising that I have hurt someone with my words or my actions, I ask the Lord for forgiveness and bless that person.  But I need to also check, Is this something that I need to go to that person and apologise for?.  Would it have wounded them?  And if so then I would go to that person.  Once done, it is finished.  No longer to come under condemnation again because I have done my best and made every effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.  Whether or not they forgive you is not your responsibility, it is theirs.  They can no longer hold you accountable for it because you have brought it before the Lord and before them.

If someone has offended me with their words or actions?
Sometimes people say things and sometimes there is a ring of truth to their words and we don't want to hear it.  So we need to sift out what is of God and what is not.  What are the words that are true and not take offense to the truth even though it may hurt at times, but to listen to it as it may be something we can't see about ourselves and in someone bringing it, may actually help us to move forward.  But sometimes there are words that are spoken in anger or from a place of judgement toward us, that are not of the Lord and those words we need to let go over us.  In proverbs it says about a "fluttering curse has no place to land".  I have found that when I am doing well the things people say about me don't effect me because I can recognise the truth, but when I am not doing so well emotionally or spiritually, those words that people say are like arrows in my heart that wound.  They may be the same words but because of how I am reacting or feeling about things, I take it differently, not their problem but mine.

I find that these situations are all good and that is why Paul writes so much to rejoice and again I say rejoice, why - because the things that come at us like this, help us to find out and discern who we really are in Christ and who we are not and so when having worked through all this, we find it easier for things to fall away that are not of God, but first we have to learn the truth about ourselves and know who we are in Christ.  We can easily be offended but we have to make a choice not to take offense and to give to God what is not ours to pick up, what other people are giving us that is actually their own judgements or the lens in which they see through, or perhaps even the words that have been spoken over their own lives by others which they are now projecting onto you out of their own hurt.

Sometimes we need to go to those people who have hurt us and say to them that they are hurting us, especially if it continues, as sometimes people do not even know that their words or actions hurt us and I am sure their intention is not to hurt.  Sometimes peoples personality just rub us up the wrong way and we can be offended simply because their personality is different to mine and therefore I judge their behaviour against the measure I set as perhaps sin when it is not and that is something I have to deal with.

Each of us look through lenses and we all see things differently but the stable and sure foundation is found in the bible and what the Lord would say about you and with that we need to line everything up with.  We need to learn to give grace and forgiveness to others as Christ has given it to us and doesn't hold us in that place of sin.  As he has forgiven us our sins so we too are to forgive others theirs.  Prov 19:11 "A man's wisdom give him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."   We pray for wisdom but to get wisdom we have to go through things which lead us and teach us, which give us the wisdom that we have been asking for.  We know we have truly forgiven someone when we see that person and not find out hearts holding back and protecting ourselves.   So let me encourage you to search your heart before the Lord and see if there is any offenses in your heart that would make you like the barred gates of a citadel (prov 18:19) that nothing can get through or whether our hearts are soft toward man and toward God.

Change is coming - be willing to move from the familiar

Things are about to change quite suddenly I believe.  And in this unexpected change people are used to the old way of doing things and so it takes a little while for people to adjust to the new way.  I saw in a dream that the entrance of our house had changed and like any building that you go into when you are used to it a certain way, when it is different we are not quite sure where to go or what the new layout is.  And so I encourage you in the change not to just walk away, get frustrated, or feel you can't enter in, it is just different.  Even our closest friends may not understand.  And in that change often there can be a flood of words that can come and try and bring destruction, and I saw ministries crashing as things changed and I saw the enemy trying to kill,  but the Lord encouraged me through Lev 26  that when we obey him, then no harm can hurt us outside of his will.  We are His and He has covenanted with us His protection and safety and so I don't need to be afraid.

We are coming into a different season, different perhaps in ways that we have not seen God work that way before and is it even of God?  But we need to discern and not just walk away.  We need to throw out that 'familiar spirit' that each of us have, we are used to things the same way, and allow God to show us new ways that we have not known before.  None of us like change but change is usually always good for us, it grows us, it expands us, it shows us new things we had not seen before.  We also need to be aware that in this season the enemy is wanting to kill and destroy and also counterfeit what the Lord is doing, but the word says that when we submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.  He cannot touch us when we submit to God and resist the devil and like Job when he stood on what he believed in God, he saw the blessing more than he had before even though at times he was tempted to give up and encouraged by others to give up, because of what he was suffering at the time.  Believe in what you know in God and in the Spirit and in yourself and you will see things you have never known before.  

Monday, 19 November 2012

Hard heartedness, blame shifting, not taking responsibility and pride! 1 Peter 5:5 "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ,"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Two nights ago I felt something in the spirit shift and it felt like a 'hard heartedness toward God' that came upon my spirit and I thought this is unusual.  Didn't feel like worshipping, listening to praise music or anything which is highly unusual for me and so I wondered what was happening.  Then yesterday morning something else happened that made Jim & I reflect and ask the Lord what was happening in the spirit and the things that have come out in the past 24 hours are things I want to share with you.

Blame shifting, not taking responsibility and a hard heartedness toward the things of the Lord and others.  Big heavy topics but ones that need addressing I believe and ones we all have issues with at some time in our lives, but topics which all lead back to pride.  But when we keep out hearts soft and open to the Lord and to others, we release heaven to earth and we see things shift for the better in our circumstances and in our relationships, in fact in everything.

There have been many times in our lives where things have come at us that we had choices to make.  To follow what the word of the Lord said, trusting that he would work all things together for good, or to follow our emotions, our hurts and move on, or seek justification/retribution for actions done to us or whatever the case has been.  Its also a place where we can choose to stay in 'self pity' because it is actually easier than forgiving those who have hurt us or asking for forgiveness for what we have done to others.

1 Peter 5:5  All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".
James 4:6  But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says:  "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you."

Grace is the key.  We cannot do it.  We need God to come into our situations and when we wait upon him we begin to get an understanding of actually what Grace is.  Grace is a word we hear a lot about but to really understand what it is we have to walk of journey where we need God to step into things and see his hand in it.  Where we see his provision come in a way we never thought possible.  Where we receive strength to forgive someone who has harmed us.  Where we can love someone who may have damaged our family.  Where restoration happens because God does something in us to love and forgive  others that we could not do ourselves.

In Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good.  Salvation comes from the Lord."
When we hold onto worthless idols such as pride, self righteousness, selfishness, finances, anger, unforgiveness, whatever it may be, we forfeit the grace from God.  We forfeit his help coming in to our situations.  But when we let go of those idols in our lives and allow him to come in, we see amazing things happen, not only with us but also with those around us.

We have had some times in our lives where it has been so 'black' we have not seen any way through anything and that place has been absolutely horrible and if God didn't intervene I don't know where I would be today, but I choose to trust in the Lord and his word and we saw his grace come in a way that was unbelievable, that turned everything around from a place of total despair and hopelessness to one of a hope and a future.

I looked back on the last blog about the storms coming, and our foundations needing to be secure and I want to encourage you again today that if you fear the Lord, if you open your heart to him and his word and choose to stand on his word, you will not be disappointed.  You may not see through the place you are in at the moment, but the Lord is able to give you grace for the day which will enable you to stand and see the deliverance of your God.  But if we harden our hearts toward God, towards others, we will never see the deliverance that is at hand.

When a hardening of heart happens we need to ask ourselves and the Lord some questions and when we get the answers, we need to listen to them and do something about them.
Sometimes when we don't feel like praising God, then that is the very thing we need to do.  A sacrifice of praise because it truly is a sacrifice because it is the last thing we feel like doing, but when we do that our eyes are turned away from our situations and put back on God who is our deliver of that situation.  When we keep our eyes on those things that are causing pain, that is all you will ever see and you won't see the deliverance when it comes.

Trust me when I say, Jim & I don't have it all together and certainly teenagers show you your own areas that need a 'readjustment', and those hard hearts that can be put up because  you want your way as it says in James 4:1  What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don't get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight."  And teenagers certainly test your hearts on some issues of authority, respect, honour etc. but I now see all of these as times of growth, or breakthrough, of shifting things that will bring an inheritance in our lives.  Once I would have seen it as failure as a Christian when I got it wrong in the Lord and I would have stayed in that place of condemnation but not any longer.  When we fall over in some area in our lives we also see God's grace there to pick us up and forgive us and say "Come on daughter, lets have another go at this"  You fell over in this area but my grace is sufficient, let's try again.  I do not stay in condemnation any longer because that is not God, but I do have a choice to make when conviction comes, to do something about it.

And so Lord  help us today to receive Grace from you and to give Grace to others.  Lord we can't do it, we need your help to come into our situation today.  Lord I open my heart to you today, show me the areas in my life that there are walls that need to come down and Lord help me to let them fall.  Lord forgive my pride, my selfishness, my need to be in control when you want to be in control and realise your ways are better than mine.   Lord help me to love those who hurt me, to forgive them and to see them how you see them.  Lord if there is someone I need to forgive today, please show me.  Lord if there is someone I need to ask forgiveness of Lord, help me to go to them and ask forgiveness for how I have hurt them because I can't do that in my own strength.  Lord thank you that you have forgiven us our sins so that we can forgive others theirs.  Thank you for your grace and your mercy, your love that covers a multitude of sin, your love that casts out all fear.  And Lord for those who don't know how much you love them today, please give them a revelation of that love for them today.  That they are the apple of your eye.  That you delight in them even when they don't feel that delight.  That nothing they could ever do will ever push you away from your love toward them.  That you love each one of us unconditionally!
Thank you Jesus.

I was looking for something else but stumbled upon this after writing the blog and thought this is a good word to add that would bring encouragement!  Psalm 112  "Praise the Lord.  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.  His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches are in his house and his righteousness endures forever.  Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righeousess man.  Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.  Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.  He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever, his horn will be lifted high in honour.  The wicked man will see and be vexed. He will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing."

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The storms are coming - will my foundations cope?

I have had several dreams lately in which either storms or things are coming at me and so it is easy to get fearful of what is to come which of course is not of the Lord because His plans for us are good.  But he does say in Proverbs that we will have many afflictions but the Lord delivers us from them all.  So although we will have trials, he is with us in it and will lead us through them.

I was reading this morning the story of the Wise and the Foolish builders and I was reminded that although the storms may and will come, I don't need to be concerned because my foundations are in him.
Matt 7:23  Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

The key in this scripture is putting into practise what we hear from the Lord.  If we don't put into practise those things that we are hearing from the Lord we are leaving ourselves vulnerable and when those storms come our foundations are weakened.

Yesterday I was looking at a scripture in James 2:14  What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a bother or sister is naked and destitute for daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

So when reading the scripture from Matthew about putting into practise what you heard I was reminded about faith without action is dead.  Both are saying the same thing.  We need to do what we believe otherwise what we heard, what we believe, is actually of no value at all and it doesn't profit us or anyone else anything.

There are times in our lives when we are questioning what we are hearing from the Lord and until you get that clarity it is better to wait.  But in learning to hear and discern his voice and putting into practise what I believed I heard, there have been many times in my life that I have just stepped out in faith believing what I thought the Lord was saying and trusting in that and so my clarity and discernment of hearing his voice has grown.  And in the stepping out the Lord is able to direct our footsteps but when we don't step out he can't direct anything.  In stepping out you will either find a way through or a blockage and so you know.

Sometimes I don't need to ponder or question anything before doing it, simply because the word says what we need to do and so just do it.  For example Matt 5:42 "Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Easy, that's what his word says and so therefore that is what I need to do.  I don't need to question whether or not to give.  Other times we might get impressions, or whatever that we believe God is saying to do a certain thing but it is not written in the word specifically your situation.  Often if you believe you hear something, if it would be a good thing in the Lord and lines up with scripture, if it is out of your comfort box but would build his Kingdom on the earth, then it is probably from the Lord and in stepping out in those 'promptings' and then seeing his provision or his direction in something then we learn more to hear his voice.  If you are unsure it is always good to seek wise discerning christian counsel.

Faith is believing in what you cannot see and so stepping out in faith is a challenge but the more you put into practise what you believe in the Lord, what you believe in scripture and seeing God's answer and provision in those things, the more you know with a surety your foundations in the Lord are secure and the storms will not touch you.  God has been redoing our foundations and showing Jim and I all the weak areas that needed strengthening because his desire is that when those storms come we will be able to stand in him and be secure.

A scripture someone sent me this morning after I wrote this which fits in beautifully is Isaiah 33:5-6  "The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure."

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Led into the desert by the Holy Spirit and returned by the Power of the Spirit

I loved what Toby was saying in church yesterday from Luke 4 but something that hit me was  in 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert.
And then later in 4:14  Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  (Be worth getting the message from Life Church if you haven't heard it)

Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit and he was led out in the Power of the Spirit.
In and out of the wilderness experience but still in all times in the Holy Spirit.

No matter where we are at in the Lord, whatever revelation I have or don't have yet is, whether moving in the power of the Spirit or led into the wilderness, we are all still in the Holy Spirit.
I find there tends to be superior spirituality within the body of Christ when terms such as "religious spirits" are bandied about.  We elevate one person over another because one has a 'religious spirit' but to me that is not love.  We step into pride thinking we have something more than someone else.  Love is lifting the other person above myself.

It is only by grace that I am where I am at, everything I have I was given by God, every bit of revelation I have is only because the Lord allowed my eyes to see the things I see.  I can't even have faith to believe without the faith first being given to me.  Apostle Paul is thankful for the thorn in the flesh because of the revelations he was receiving because it kept him in a place of humility and weakness before the Lord and before man.  As we are in a time where revelations are being poured out and understanding is coming, please be careful not to think you have more than someone else. Please be careful not to 'label' things because each person is his beloved and we are all in different places and walks with the Lord.  We are in a time where the Lord is bringing things to the surface and that is not to judge it and condemn, but to allow the Lord to heal things in people's lives and bring them into freedom in Him.   He brings to light the things hidden in the darkness for healing and wholeness to come and so when we see that happening with others lets be quick to love and support and help in whatever way and comfort that the Lord has given us that we can give others.

Love is covering someone else's nakedness and shame, not pointing it out and making it plain for all to see.

I look back on my life and the experiences I have had, every experience has added value to who I am now, every desert and wilderness time, every misunderstanding, every hurt, every judgement has all brought wisdom and understanding in my life, every lack of revelation and I am thankful for everything I have been through.  In those times it has brought me closer to God and who he is and the truth that sets me free when I choose to believe his word.  None of it was wrong, it was where I was at, at the time and I value it all.  I prayed for wisdom and that is how you get it, through the experiences you walk through in the Lord in the Holy Spirit and you come through it in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Who are we serving - God or man?

 This morning the Lord has been challenging me and showing me and asking the question – “Why am I doing what I am doing?  Am I doing it for Jesus or for man?”

Over the past weekend I kept calling people ‘Mary’ and I clicked this morning what was going on, the Lord was reminding me to be a ‘Mary’ to sit at Jesus feet and so I looked up the story about Martha and Mary.  We all know the story but for me this morning as the Lord is saying to ‘prepare for expansion’ he is also saying in the preparation to keep sitting at his feet.  Luke 10:40  “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. “  In this season where we need to make room for expansion, it is easy to get distracted with all the preparations that need to be made, easy to not sit and be with Jesus. 
Luke 10:38 – 41, a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

The scripture above spoke to me personally as we are opening our home to the Lord and to the people he brings, how do we sit and listen to all that Jesus says and yet still get the preparations done?  I pondered this question and then the Lord reminded me once again of what happened last week.  People came and helped with the things that needed  to be done.  One woman turned up at my home and started to help clean when I had had no time for cleaning.  I didn’t need to ask her, she was prompted by the Lord to come and do it.  He reminded me that he will bring the people that will do the various things that need to be done.  We all have our part and we need to respond to the part that the Lord puts on our heart and do what he releases us to do.  But first we need to listen to him.  It was in listening to him that the woman responded and came and helped clean.  When we listen to him, when we sit at his feet, we hear what we need to do and we then need to trust him to do the rest.  We can only do what he gives us to do, and if we find ourselves rushing around then we are often doing things that he has not asked us to do.   

In my rushing around this morning and preparing my home, the Lord gently asked the question – ‘Sarah who are you serving, God or man.’  Are you serving the people more that I am bringing to your home than you are serving me.  He prompted me to go and pick some roses but at the same time someone came to our home.  I was tempted to go immediately to minister with the people but Jesus showed me not to and to go and pick the roses because actually Jesus was more important and I had felt him say to go and pick some roses, but because someone turned up I felt the need to go and be with them.  God is big enough to minister to the people on his own without me.  He doesn’t need me.  He can turn up in a cloud all on his own and bring what needs to be brought and so I took my time and went and picked the roses first and then God did what he wanted to do and it was so much better than if I had gone in rushing and not at peace.

God is sooo good in realigning our focus and shifting it back to where it should be.  And so I share this with you and hope it helps you to keep your focus where it also needs to be and ask that you would pray for me in the shifting of seasons and the preparations of expansion that I would take that time to just sit at Jesus feet and listen to him and trust him that everything will get done that needs to get done.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Don't be afraid of the giants

How quickly we forget the promises and the victories in the Lord, the testimonies that we have testified too in the past when we come up against a new ‘giant’ that we have not encountered before.  In Deuteronony chapter one this morning I am reminded of the promises of God, of his provision, that he goes before us and will show us the way to go through.   Chapter one is of the spies being sent out to spy out the land and how only two came back saying we can take this land, and all the others became fearful.  

How easily we become fearful especially when we look at our own strength and our own capabilities but the Lord would say this morning, "Trust in me, I am leading the way and you will be victorious, yes, you can’t do it, but I can."

I believe we can take this land of New Zealand for the Lord because this is where I have set my feet (for now)  Deut 1: 36  “I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”
When you follow the Lord and believe him, we will have the victory in whatever area we need to see victory in.  We will take that land, whatever land that might be for you, whether its seeing change in our children, whether it’s seeing a breakthrough in a broken relationship, whether it’s a breakthrough in habits for instance smoking, whether it's taking a nation for Christ.

But I believe the encouragement this morning is that whatever giant we may be facing in our lives, we will see the victory if we continue to trust in him and follow the Lord wholeheartedly.  You might be struggling in an area in your life that you just get the breakthrough in, but don’t give up because you will see it.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and let him open the way through your situation.

I have seen how God has gone before us in other things, and he leads the way and clears the path like the parting of the Red Sea with Moses where there was no way forward but the Lord made the way.
But when obstacles come up and things don’t happen easily do we keep going?  I know for me it was a great encouragement reading chapter one this morning.
Verse 29  "Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt (or in our cases, in Africa, in China, in my whole life).. …. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place”.  The Lord himself is carrying us!  He will continue to carry us until we reach the destination.  Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Make way for the new development

This morning I had a dream and in this dream I saw Jim & I were helping clear out the rubble and things left in houses that were being demolished.  Whole rows of houses were being demolished and we were asked to come and help clear the area before new things went in.  But while helping shift stuff (although a bit reluctantly as I am not a fan of hard physical work) we were blessed to be able to take the pickings of what was left and I found myself picking up the antique ornaments., the treasures.   There was also a big white fridge that actually was a safe that couldn’t be opened or moved, it was stuck, solid, so wedged in nothing was going to move it.

I realise in processing this, this is actually the call the Lord has on Jim & I,  we are called to shift stuff in the spirit,  in peoples lives in order for the new to come in and in seeing the big fridge which was actually a safe, it made me think of Matt 6.  The fridge often represents the heart and a safe of course represents money and the storing of money.

Matt 6:31: 19  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,  where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  …. V24  No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.

The scripture is self-explanatory and doesn’t need me to say anything but please do not let the treasures of this earth, and the love of money become so wedged in your life that it cannot be moved to make way for the new things that the Lord wants to bring in your life. 

Sometimes things are so wedged in and we feel like they cannot be moved and we don’t know what to do or how to do it.  All we have to do is ask the Lord to shift it in our lives and he will do it.  We just need to give him permission and open our heart for him to do it.  Some of these areas are so wedged in us that like any solid object in a corner, it takes a bit of manoeuvring in order to get it out it out but evidentially it shifts.  Nothing is impossible to the Lord, we just need to allow him to shift things and open up our heart for him to come in.  And his promise is that when we ask, we receive and the promise too is that there are new things he wants to put in that place.  Its like a old property that is being torn down and making way for a new development which is going in, which will be more modern, cater for more people, and make a lot more money but first we need to get rid of the old.

Have a great week everyone.  Bless you all.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Our latest update, next steps and prayer needs

Dear friends, supporters and prayer partners of Glory Release Ministries, & of Jim, Kate & I.
Its hard to believe its over a month since our return from Africa.  Time flies when you are having fun.
Some things are developing that we would appreciate your prayer on.
Earlier in the year we had the conference "Step Up & Step In" as we believed the Lord was saying to step out by faith into those things that you believe for so we did, not only for ourselves and what we believe but also hopefully to encourage the body to do the same in their/your own worlds.
And then the Lord challenged us again with Africa and stepping up to a whole another level and the things we saw and all that God did, blew us away.  It's been a time of growing this past year, from one level into another level.
And that leads us to now and what we believe him for now. 
Some more detail to share within that bigger vision  of :  
Evangelistic Gatherings - Where the body of Christ is brought together all from different churches and walks of life, being released in their giftings’ to bring revival to this Nation, firstly in Hamilton, and then to the Nations which through Gods Love, Glory and Joy will transcend culture, denomination, age, gender etc. bringing radical transformation and turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. (Mal 4:6) 
The Lord is saying to prepare for expansion and so we have been asking the Lord what that looks like and this is where we would ask you to pray.  
Part one : Resourcing & Equipping
Nearly every Wednesday night we are holding a meeting in our home when we are around and we are seeing anywhere between 20 - 40 people coming and it is growing and so our home in future will not be able to hold what we believe the Lord wants to do. But we still believe it is not to become a church, as we desire that people would stay in their churches and take back to them what they are carrying and impart it to those around them.  We believe that God is setting up some sort of 'resource place' where different people from all walks of society can come, be imparted to, grow in unity in the spirit across the different parts of the body, grow in the areas of their need and then go out again into their worlds, whether they take it back to their churches, their workplaces, their homes, their ministries.
Part two : Going
A part of this we believe is the taking of teams out into different parts within New Zealand  and also to the nations to release what the Lord has given and enabling others to walk in the same things but also to receive what other parts of the body have to teach and give us.
This has been happening already on a smaller scale with the various people we meet but it is growing and more and more people are coming and going and we are seeing the fruit of the dream that is within our heart.  We are seeing people growing in the Lord, being released in their giftings, building in confidence and going and doing the same.  It is so encouraging.  In this we feel like the Lord is saying to prepare for expansion and one of the ways we believe he has said is to take on interns and people that want to be a part of this ministry & vision on a day to day basis where they can help to grow this vision the Lord has given but also at the same time to grow themselves, be released and go and do the same.  But also where Jim and I would grow and learn as well.  Like Jesus where he had the 12 disciples that he walked and talked with along the way and then he sent them out two by two.  This is happening already on an 'informal' basis but the Lord is saying to enlarge the tent and so to step out again.
And so on the practical details of this we would ask you to stand with us in prayer for;
1.    At the moment the Lord we believe is saying to set up a resource training type room, prayer room and more office space and so we are readjusting our garages and our home in order to set this up.  And so is there anyone out there who can help line some garages, perhaps input some finances to buy lining and sliding doors/windows etc.  We have thought about taking it in town to other facilities but we are hesitant in that as we want it to remain reproducible, homelike and hospitality orientated user friendly that anyone can feel a part of and not a 'church'.   Also in that might be the possibility of moving into a Thursday night as well but not at this stage.
2.    We are still needing to see more finances to come on board to enable this vision to happen and release Jim and I from this concern of having to find work to eat and be able to concentrate fully on the ministry.
3.    For the right people to come on board in the day to day running of the ministry that would sew into this vision and enable it to happen as we want to step out in more things/outreaches but we cannot do everything and are not gifted in some of these areas to make things like that happen, so to see different people step up and offer their time and gifts into this would be fantastic and already we have seen two people in this past week step forward, so thank you Lord!  
4.    For us as we step into another level of faith especially in the arena of setting up some sort of internship type programme without it being a 'programme' but a hands on day by day led by the Spirit type walk with the Lord and how the Lord would develop this. 
5.    Pray for us as we learn to use the people that the Lord brings in a way we have never had to before.  
6.    Whangarei North is on our heart to go to next and so we are thinking of heading up that way and seeing what the Lord will open up.  But we really want to see teams of different people going out into these places that the Lord would open up and so would ask you to pray that the doors that would receive teams of people would open.  We already have teams of people waiting to be used and ready to go so we need those doors to open.
So that will give you some idea of where things are at in the detail of the bigger vision and how to pray and ask that you would join with us to see all that the Lord wants to do in this Nation and the Nations of the world.
Thanking you and please don’t forget to have a look at the blogsite at where inspirational day to day words and insights are put up that would encourage you on in your walk.

Many blessings! 
Love Jim & Sarah

Declare the Glory of God to the Nations

Share the testimonies

Oh for so long the testimonies of the Lord have been shut down and yet there is power in the testimony!  Why is it we do not share the testimonies?  I think some of it is because people think we are being boastful, we are being proud, that we are spiritual know alls, mainly because of what other people might think about us when we share it.  And yes some people do think that, but the real question is – what are the motives of your heart in sharing?  Is it to give glory to God and what he did, no matter how big or small the testimony, then no issue in sharing the testimony, how other people receive it is up to them.  Let him who boast, boast in the Lord.

Something the Lord is speaking to me about is declaring what I see in the spirit and speaking it out and so I was looking about scriptures about declaring and I came across this beautiful Psalm of Davids’ that I just had to share.  Read the whole thing if you have a chance but this is a shortened version;
1 Chronicles 16:8-36 
v8  Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
Tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
Seek his face always….
….V24  Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples
For great is the Lord and most worth of praise
He is to be feared above all gods,…
…V29 Ascribe to the Lord
O families of nations,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name
Bring and offering and come before him;
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
…v34  Give thanks to the Lord
for he is good; his love endures forever
…Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord”

When we share, when we declare the glory of God – then all the people will say amen and praise the Lord and he will lifted up on high and glorified!

Will you play the piano - will you spit and touch a man's toungue?

We had our worship group the other night and to begin with I saw someone playing the playing so I asked if anyone could and would play the piano because that is what I saw happening in the spirit.  I may have been wrong in the what I saw but I stepped out in faith but alas no one stepped forward to play the piano so Jim played it and I believe in this the Lord was teaching us some valuable lessons.  Jim cannot play the piano at all but he was willing to be used.

This morning I was reading in Mark 7:32-35  "There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man...   Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears.  Then he spit and touched the man's tongue.  He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!).  At this the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

I was reminded of the other night  as I read the story above,  would people spit and touch a man's tongue in the belief of seeing it healed?  There are things the Lord is going to ask us to do that is out of our comfort zone, makes no sense and yet if we are asking to see the things that are talked of in the bible, if we are asking for deaf ears to be healed, blind eyes to be opened, legs to grow etc then we need to learn to step out on what we see in the spirit by faith so that our faith is activated through humility and allow the Lord to do what he said he can do.  If we will only do what we know we can do in our own strength and ability then we will I believe not see the miraculous things God wants to do.  If we are a  people who believe that "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me" not because of my own ability but because of God's ability through me as an empty willing vessel then we will see those things because God wants all the glory and to do that it must not rest on man's ability or strength.

God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.......Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.....1 Cor 1:27- 2:5 message and preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."  

The other day at our home I now believe there was a worship angel in the room and because Jim stepped out in faith our household received that gift because the next day Kate who used to play the piano and hasn't for a long time and she was not a part of the meeting just started playing the piano again and it was so nice to hear it being released again in our house.  But I also believe there were others that were being challenged to move out in that arena to another level so if you are musical in any way I encourage you to step out in faith and pick up those instruments you haven't played for a while and start to practise them and be willing if the Lord asks you again to play, then play not resting on your own ability but trusting that God will give you what you need when you need it and it will be like the angels worshipping before the throne day and night.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

It's time to throw out the rotten eggs.

The other day I had a picture of old rotten eggs being thrown out.  In order for being positioned for expansion we sometimes need to throw out the old ideas and thinking in order for the new to come.  Eggs can represent ideas.  We have had many ideas about the ministry and how we can see it happening but what the Lord was saying to me this morning is in order for the new to come, for the expansion to come, the old ideas of how the ministry could happen or what it would look like need to be thrown out so that the new can come.  We need to check those eggs, are they rotten and needing to be thrown out, or are some of those eggs (ideas) that we have still alright for the season we are in?

Often we get a vision or a dream or an idea of how things can be and they were good for that time, but the time moves on and we have to move with the times and the time for those things that was there has now come and gone.  Whether or not they happened is irrelevant now because it is a new day, the old has past and the new has come.  We cannot be held up because of the ‘what if’s’ in life, or the ‘if only’s’ because it is past.  We need to move into the future asking the Lord to direct our steps.  There may be an asking of forgiveness from the Lord as to why we didn’t do those things that we believed were from him.  When we do that we realize the areas in our hearts that we didn’t believe Him for, or fear of failure or need of approval from man, whatever the reason, but then to learn from that and receive that forgiveness and move forward into the hope and future he has for us and those around us.

Isaiah 54:2-5  “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.  Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.  Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.  You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.  For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”

We are in a time of enlargement as a people of God I believe and like any family in which a new baby is about to come on the scene we need to make room to accommodate it.  And so in a home rooms get shifted around, sorted out, the old thrown out and perhaps a garage sale happens and new furniture, like a cot comes in for the new baby.  What are the things in your household that need rearranging in order to accommodate the new things that the Lord wants to do?
What are those things we need to throw out, a time of spring cleaning :)

With Love, Sarah

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Are you feeling frustrated, discouraged, discontented - then be encouraged to keep going for at the proper time you WILL reap a harvest.

Many are the voices I am hearing of frustration, of when, of what is going on, of disappointment, of wanting more but getting discouraged but the Lord would say, do not give up in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest - and I believe that harvest is not long off.  The enemy's tactics are to wear out the saints but I want to encourage you - keep going, don't give up, only believe.

In looking at why sometimes frustration etc is there, the Lord showed me that sometimes its because we are looking more at the dreams and visions we have that aren't being fulfilled than looking at the source of our true fulfillment which is only found in Jesus.  Philippians 3:7  “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ. “

Christ is our reward not the dreams and visions that we are awaiting on from which our disappointment, frustration etc. can often come.   If we are seeing and focusing more of the promises then we have lost sight of our true reward.   He is the total fulfillment in all of life and without him we have nothing.

So lets keep sight of our true reward but also to keep faith and belief in the promises he has given.

Frustration, disappointment, discouragement etc. actually are good things, they pushes us into the next thing.  You realise you are not satisfied with where things are at and so you desire and pursue questions as to why you are not seeing what you want to see.  The problem comes when we don't listen to the answer we may receive and do what the Lord says to do.  Or we settle where things are at and fall into a satisfied or resolved position which steps us out of faith and keeps us where we are at but no longer as a people of faith and belief in the God of the impossible.    There is always more I believe in the Lord for me and for those around me as I learn to walk from ‘glory to glory’.  I had this question in Africa when I said to the Lord, "I want to see more" and he said “Well Sarah step out more and pray for that one with the club foot on crutches that seems impossible".  So I had to action what I believed the Lord said.    Whatever the Lord reveals is the reason for our frustration or sense of discouragement or discontentment, we need to do something with what he shows us in order for things to change because the problem lies with us and not with God.  God can and will do what he says he will do, he cannot lie, but there may be things hindering us in receiving everything we want.

I had a dream a couple of months ago and it was of a power boat that was tied up on shore and this boy said he could drive the power boat but when he jumped in and started it, it took off and spun out of control tipping up the people in the boat and causing damage.  We often think we are ready and can handle the power of God, but like any good father, he is not going to give you the keys of the car if you don't know how to drive :)  We first need to learn to drive the car before we can be entrusted with the car on our own.  Our daughter is learning to drive the car at the moment and is currently on a learners license and then she will progress to the restricted and then to the full.  In the weekend Jim taught her how to change a tyre, check the oil etc. and they were the rules for her before she was allowed to go for her restricted license so that if she were driving on her own she could handle some of things that are associated with the car on her own.  We are so often wanting to get in and drive the car, drive the power boat, thinking we can handle it but there are things we need to learn first before being entrusted with that power so that others will not get hurt in the process.  

We need to be life long learners and so I would encourage you if you are in a place of frustration, discontentment, discouraged, or whatever, firstly give thanks in all circumstances which encourages you to see that Jesus is working and takes your focus back to him rather than the dreams and visions which you aren't yet seeing fulfilled but will happen as you delight yourself in him (Psalm 37).  Secondly ask the questions for your frustration etc and then listen to the answer from the Lord and then action what he says and allow patience to have its perfect work in you so that you will be lacking nothing and fully equipped for every good work (James 1:2-4)  that the Lord would have you step into.