Friday, June 1, 2012

The Parachute

What is it with God and parachutes?   How many times does it feel like we are free-falling from 15,000 feet?  Zooming toward the ground, scared stiff and with no options, we cry out to God.  And suddenly!  God likes that word.  Suddenly.  Suddenly your chute pops open not a second too late.  A circumstance of life suddenly changes in your favour.

He's God of the Freefall, a last minute type of guy.

So many times, God has come through for me at the 11th hour, 59th minute. It's brain numbing, oxygen zapping.  But is that so our every breath has to come from Him?


If you play with fire, you're gonna get burnt.  Dad often said this to me as a child, as I was naturally drawn to fire.  It's an old saying, and a true one.  Fire burns.
What thoughts come to mind when you think of fire?

Danger.  Unpredictable.  Destruction.  Pain.  Loss.   For many, these are their thoughts.
God our creator says He is a consuming fire.  (Deut 4:24; Heb 12:29)   When we think of fire, we think of fire burning things up, not creating them!   But God seems to have a way of turning things on their head, doing things differently to us, challenging our thinking.

I laugh when I think of how God has hidden clues that point to Him, just like a treasure hunt but the clues are hidden in plain sight!   Think about the sun, for example.  There it is, our burning ball of fire and life-giving energy, positioned just the right distance from us.  Any closer and we'd burn up.  Any further away, and we'd freeze to death.  Perfectly positioned.  A fluke?

And all the planets revolve around the sun.  Some amazing, incredible force keeps them all spinning and all revolving and all balanced.   If one of those planets decided to suddenly career off on it's own, away from the sun, it would be death to that planet, and probably other planets in it's path.

It's as if God has a huge clue sitting up there, saying to us, make ME the centre of your lives!  Focus on ME.  I am vital to your balance, to your very existence.  I know what you need.  Just stay near me, focus on me.   Don't pull away.

Fire in the Bible often points to God.  God rocked up as Fire, time and time again in different ways.  
  • in the making of the Covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:17)
  • the burning bush (Exo 3:2-4)
  • pillar of fire (Exo 13:21)
  • on Sinai (Exo 19:18)
  • God answering by fire (1 Kings 18:24 and 38) 
Sacrifices and offerings in those days were to be made by fire.  (Exodus 12:8-10; Lev 1)
Even incense required a flame.  Incense represented the prayers of the people, floating heavenward.    Fire often signified God's acceptance of a sacrifice.  (Jud 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chr 21:26)

Our world without fire would be a vastly different place.  Much manufacturing requires fire.  And of course, without the sun, we're done.    "Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Fire is a biblical symbol of Yahweh.  God Himself.   "I am a consuming fire" God says.

Fire is constantly moving, changing intensity, colour, brightness.  You never get the same fire twice.  In creation, no two things are truly, completely identical.  Even identical twins have their differences - inside and out.  

Energy waves given off are very powerful, whether from the sun, or the splitting of an atom.  Think about light ~ the laser!  The amazing, target power of it.  If God dwells in us, and we allow his fire to take hold of us, could our prayers be so much more targeted, focused, effective?

But first, the fire of the heart needs to kindle.  What is this fire?  A fire of love for our enemies. (Matt 5:38-48, Rom 12:20)  

This is the fire that will bring righteous judgement into the world.  Pray for your enemies!  It's a privilege to pray for those who take advantage of us or mock us, each day of our lives.   It's difficult, absolutely!  But entering into that fire somehow burns off hurt, pain, bad attitudes, unforgiveness.  We pray for them, but we get the benefits.

God manifested as smoke and fire on Mount Sinai, saying He wanted to speak with the Israelites.  Such a great honour and privilege to be chosen to hear God.  But they wanted Moses to be the man-in-the-middle, and bring the word for them.  They feared death.

Yesterday, Moses.  Today, what excuses do we use, to avoid dying to self, to avoid God?  Busyness.  Tiredness.  Work.  Sport.  Family.  Even church duties!   Fire burns.  But it burns dry, old wood quickest.  What stuff do you have in your life, that is old and dry.  And I am not talking spouses!   I am talking about your own life.  Your own stuff that weighs you down, gets in between you and God.

Allow the fire of God to enter every nook and cranny of your life.  Not to destroy.  But purify, cleanse, correct.  

Have you ever seen the aftermath of a bushfire?  Stark, blackened stumps.  No life.  Ash everywhere.  But a year later, and new life and growth is shooting, springing forth from the desolation.   Promise.  Hope.  Beauty from ashes.

When it will feels like everything's falling apart around us, keep looking heavenward! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gumboot or Reboot?

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."  says Jesse Duplantis.

The same actions, the same thinking, the same responses...mean you get the same results.  A track appears.  Walk it long enough, around and around and around, and you'll find yourself in a rut.   Have you ever driven a car into a rut?  Notice how it tends to grab, to hold. Life's ruts are like that.

If you've ever been on a dairy farm, you'll know cow-tracks are always thick with manure, and slippery with urine too!  Smelly.  Gumboots are essential on a dairy farm!

When you're in a rut, you just keep doing the same-old-same-old.  No forward thinking, no planning, no dreaming.  The decision is made for you.   Ruts are familiar paths going to familiar places.  Ruts of fear, disobedience, resentment, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness will take you back, not forward; down, not up and out.

So what do we do, if our spiritual ground is a bit too familiar?  A bit too slushy underfoot, perhaps?


Choose life!  Not death.  Blessings!  Not curses.  


Obedience.  That's it in a nutshell.  Think back to the last thing God told you to do - and then DO IT.  God doesn't just keep issuing random instructions - he wants obedience!   Maybe you can't remember God ever telling you anything!  God doesn't lie - and He says we will hear His voice and obey.  (My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27)    So it makes sense that He must be talking to us.  But are we listening?

So, start from scratch.  It's like when your computer freezes.  You don't get anywhere 'til you reboot!  Well, just reboot with God!  If you think you've messed up somewhere, (and we all do that!) just pray something like the prayer below.  He is listening and waiting to come into your heart and help you get out of the ruts, and live a better life.

Lord Jesus, I ask You to come into my life and forgive me of all my sins.  I confess my sins to You today.  I denounce satan and everything to do with him.  I confess Jesus as the Lord of my life.  Thank you for saving me!  I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that You rose from the dead.  I am saved.  I pray this to the Father in the mighty and powerful name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Gumboot.   Or Reboot.  You get to choose!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rainbows and Diamonds

Lately God's been speaking to me about Psalm 91. It's weird how something I've read a thousand times will suddenly have a Holy Sunbeam shone on it.

Psalm 91:1 says:  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

It's so easy to just skip that verse mentally, and leap into the meaty protection verses further down.  But this first verse sets the scene.  Don't miss it.   Dwell.   It's more than living under the same roof.   It's living in colour instead of tones of grey. 

Recently our adult son moved back in with us for a season.  We've begun to rediscover his cheeky sense of  humour, his strong opinions, and his gentle heart.  It's meant a reshuffling of our lives, but the reward has been enormous.  Previously forgotten facets of his character now fill the pockets of my heart like diamonds.

The God of heaven and earth invites us to dwell with him!   He wants to leave his scent on your pillow.  Draw close to Him, and He will draw close to you.

The most beautiful rainbows are the brightest, where every different hue shines radiantly, so individual and yet so much a part of the colour beside it.

How bright is your rainbow?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Smooth Stone

David knelt and chose 5 stones from the river bed.  They were smooth from the constant washing.  The fact that he only took five tell me he had confidence.  I might have filled my pockets - set up camp in the riverbed,even - wanting access to hundreds of stones!  But David chose five.  He knew the power in a well-aimed missile.  He was confident God would bring Goliath down.

Last year I felt challenged by God to use five smooth stones of my own.  I had a goliath situation hurling abuse at me across the river of my faith.  When that happens, you tend to take your eyes off the river and pay attention to the giant.  But David instead looked to the River.   He reached in and took hold of what he knew.  He chose the smooth stones, the ones that had been in the water forever.  And so - even then, it took a few months of procrastination - I armed myself.   I wrapped my fingers around the promises of God.

Those promises God has for us were given for a reason.  Because we'd need them!  But if you own a car and never put fuel in it, then it's not going to go far.   I'd been sitting in a fuel-less car, fuming that the situation was going nowhere.  Duh!  

David chose five, but one smooth stone did the job.

When giants yell and spit, I want to immediately reach into the river that runs through my heart.

What Goliaths are you facing, that need a stone embedded in their forehead?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Things I Learned From the Cat.

It's been incredibly hot n muggy this week.  Well, this is Fiji, right?  It's supposed to be hot?  Fiji actually doesn't get hot too often.  But this week it has.  Combine it with the usual humidity, and we've even been silver-foiling windows to get some respite.  That works fabulously, just in case you're interested! 

Today we drew the curtains across the doorway in the living room to cut the late afternoon glare, but left the door open.  Our two dogs, Honey and Zeba, fierce, man-eating specimens that have workmen trembling, looked miffed as the curtain shut them out. 

In the living room with us sat Rosie, our cat who has recently left kittendom behind.  Rosie has spent the last three months training both dogs to obey her every hiss.  She regularly freezes them into fascinated statues with a cold stare.  She loves it.  So do they.

Zeba was not happy with the curtain and began pacing outside in the sun.  She cast a large shadow on the curtain, twice her normal size, and instantly struck terror into the heart of the cat who immediately manifested into a hissing, spitting puffball of bristling fur.   This interested Zeba enormously, who came closer to the curtain and in turn, enlarged her shadow.

The cat freaked at such outright disobedience.   With a howl of wrath, she leapt at the shadow, caught one claw in the curtain, and then wriggled desperately in embarrassment until she freed herself.

As funny as it was to watch, I know I've acted like Rosie at times.  Reacted badly to a perceived threat, an injustice, or simply, like Rosie, magnified something in my own imagination.  I am more prone to those overreactions when I've stepped out from under Shaddai's shadow; those days I left Jesus sitting on the front fence, while I raced on with my day.    I remember one day, when I sensed Jesus gazing forlornly at me as I drove away.  I reversed, and called out to the fence, "Sorry...C'mon! Get in!"   I don't know what the neighbours thought.  But I do know my day was great!

How does the Lord get YOUR attention?

You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "GOD, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right--he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you-- under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing--not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because GOD's your refuge, the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says GOD, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times; I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"  PSALM 91 THE MESSAGE

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mountain Climbing

Mountains. Beautiful, majestic, breathtaking. But deadly to the ill prepared.

Spiritual mountains can be the same. The climb to the peak challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Any lack of self discipline becomes glaringly obvious. Either you're fit for the journey when you start out, or fit by the time you reach the summit!     Few people stand where the air is thin and the view expansive.

Each night, camp is made, in as sheltered a spot as can be found.  But the next morning finds the team packed and climbing again.

I wonder if sometimes we're like Abraham's father, Terah, who began the journey with his son to Canaan. When Terah was about seventy he fathered three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran fathered a son named Lot, but in Genesis 11:28 we learn that Haran died before his father, Terah.

So Terah packs up shop, and begins the journey with Abram and his wife Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and heads for Canaan. But along the way, they came to a town named Haran (his dead son's name), and settled there. For Terah, the journey is over.  He died in Haran.

Haran. I know I've been there.

Rendered breathless by a painful place in my life. Felt the scab of an old wound ripped open. Buried hopes, dreams, even friendship. Who would ever want to stop there? But we do. We set up camp. An altar maybe, to the idol of agony.

Maybe it's settling for the ordinary. The familiar, the mediocre.  After all, do we really need to be self-disciplined?  It's hard work.  And life is so busy!   Is good health really that important?  My body, "the temple of the Holy Spirit" stuff is just extreme.  And God is blessing me!  Surely that means I'm right where I should be?

And so we stay, right where we are, instead of moving to the higher place that God has for us.

Every one travels through Haran.

How long we stay is up to us.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Archer

I sense a commissioning from the Lord.  He's laid in my lap a beautiful, high powered weapon.  A bow.  The arrows are plentiful; the tips sharp and perfectly honed.

Most mornings, I stand before my open window that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and gaze towards Australia.  Then I take my arrows, dip them in the Word, take aim, and fire.

In faith, I specify the recipients.  And like a homing missile, they do not return void.  They accomplish all that they have been sent out to do.

It might sound weird.  I'm just doing what I'm told to do.  God says for me to use His word, and this is the way He showed me.  I'm a visionary type, so it helps me to "see" the word flying as arrows.  If you struggle with wielding the Sword, ask God to give you a way that suits your personality type.   After all, He knows you perfectly!

Isaiah 55:11  "It is the same with My word.   I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."  (NLT)

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 2, 2010


My window is flung wide open, this morning, appreciating the sweet scent of the past two days deluge.  Birds are chattering excitedly, while the distant hum of traffic in Suva floats up the valley.  It's a beautiful morning.

A rattling roar signals the arrival of the rubbish truck, unseen, down on the roadfront. Garbologists, my dad calls them.  Like a cloud of poison gas, my nose is gradually and aggressively assailed with the stench of mice or rats, hidden amongst the rubbish the compactor had swallowed.  The overwhelming, all pervading, blanket of vile wraps itself over the street and surrounding homes.  Particularly ones with windows open.

And then it's gone.  Like a child dragging a blankie behind him, the truck rattles further on it's route, taking the toxicity with it.   The sweet rain scent begins to waft back in, and the birds return to chirping.  We can all relax.

Toxicity (says Wikipedia) is the degree to which a substance is able to damage an exposed organism....or on larger and more complex groups, such as the family unit or society at large.

A light came on for me. Our prayers are toxic. Toxic to the enemy.  Toxic to strongholds.  
Toxic to sickness, disease, and lack.  They notice our prayer scent before they even see us.
acute exposure
a single exposure to a toxic substance which may result in severe biological harm or death; acute exposures are usually characterized as lasting no longer than a day.
chronic exposure
continuous exposure to a toxin over an extended period of time, often measured in months or years; it can cause irreversible side effects.  (Wikipedia)
Sometimes one prayer will do the job; other times, we need to continually apply the Word of God to a situation, to knock the wall down.  Our prayers can be toxic to the enemy.   Joshua walked around the wall of Jericho seven times.  The enemy thought them crazy.  But the wall fell, and Jericho was taken.

Lord, help my prayers be acute toxic radiation to the enemy.  
Don't let me waste Your time or mine.  Teach me, Lord.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've just been to the bank.  (Insert round of applause and cheering here)

To describe my outing as a marathon seems an exaggeration, but to The Initiated, to Those Who Have Gone Before, it's the reality of a certain Suva bank.  We just smile and nod.  I put a dollar in the meter for parking, thinking, one hour and 15 minutes should easily cover it.  Such optimism.

As I gazed at the sea of people waiting to be served, I saw a huge business opportunity.   Customer entertainment!   Popcorn sellers, art or macrame classes...guitar lessons would be good.  Learn a song or three while you wait.   Basketweaving, perhaps, for those who have been waiting the longest?