9am - Tue 20 Sep
I still remember extremely well the time, a couple of years ago, that a friend from church asked me those four simple words.
“Do you trust me?”
My head was saying “it depends on what you’re about to do” but as I seem to do when I’m put on the spot I managed to utter a strange noise which obviously sounded enough like “yes” to satisfy the friend asking the question.
Before I knew it I was lifted up onto the shoulders of this great man and was being paraded round the church meeting (feeling something like Fiona in this picture) as a symbol for something I sadly can’t remember now; obviously the trauma of the experience is stronger than the message he was trying to deliver!
Fortunately, I stared death squarely in the face and lived to tell the tale.
But why does the thought of ‘trust’ strike so much fear into my life?
I’ve recently been reading the story of Daniel.
The background to his story, which is largely found in Daniel 1, is that he was chosen by King Nebuchadnezzar to serve in the King’s palace because he was handsome, intelligent and quick to learn new things.
He trained for three years and discovered he could understand and interpret dreams and visions for others, and served so well that the King placed him in a high position and lavished him with gifts.
Daniel also served God faithfully.
He was a pretty successful guy however you measured him.
Daniel’s success continued for many years and eventually a new King, Darius, made Daniel one of his three administrators, a role in which Daniel “distinguished himself” so much that King Darius planned to set him over the whole kingdom. (Daniel 6:8, NIV)
Consumed by jealousy, the other administrators and their friends conspired against Daniel and persuaded the King to set a decree that anybody who worshipped anything other than the king would be thrown into the den of lions.
“When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down to his knees and prayed, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10, NIV)
So great was Daniel’s trust in God, that he decided to continue to pray even though he knew it would land him in the den of lions.
Although King Darius tried to wriggle out of his decree, he was held to account by the jealous men. When the day arrived and Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, King Darius said to Daniel “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you” (Daniel 6:16, NIV)
This is not a King who believed in God, he even refers to Him as “Your God”, but he put his hope in God.
He acted on the small amount of faith or hope that he had.
Morning came after a dreadful night without eating or sleeping, so King Darius rushed out to see whether God could save Daniel.
The story tell us that the King was overjoyed to discover that “when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (Daniel 6:23, NIV)
Daniel’s story is a story of trust in God, but as much as it is a story of Daniel’s trust, it is also a story of King Darius’ willingness to exercise the tiny amount of faith or hope which he had.
Maybe the situation forced him to cast his hope onto God.
But he chose to cast it.
I find that is the most difficult thing about trust; it is always a choice.
We can chose to live within what psychologists call our ‘Circle of Comfort’ – where we are happy, safe and secure – or we can exercise a small amount of trust and step out into the ‘Growth Zone’ – which is a little more uncomfortable but will provide new opportunities to grow.
The real adventures with God exist in this growth zone.
It is where we will experience his faithfulness, where we will really get to grips with his goodness, and where we will see life changing adventures.
In Romans 12 we are not told to all be outlandish like Daniel, but to “exercise the measure of faith God has given us.”
Daniel and King Darius had vastly different measures of faith, but they both chose to exercise them.
As we start a new year in church what will happen if we trust God and exercise the measure of faith he has given us?
For a start we’ll experience a fantastic year of adventure with God, as we learn to rely on Him more and us less.
And we’ll also find that every time we climb a rung up the ladder of trust, the steps get smaller and exercising our faith gets easier.
I can’t promise that you won’t be paraded around church on somebody else’s shoulders.
I won’t even begin to suggest it will be safe, or comfortable.
But I can promise that it will be an adventure.
And that you’ll be pleased you did it.
10am - Mon 8 Aug
After a few days listening to Bill Johnson, Randy Clarke and Heidi Baker I’m bound to be a bit fired up I guess. I went with every intention!
I love this thought – that the Holy Spirit is in me for me and on me for others!
I get it. He lives in me. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)
I have kind of known it all along. Certainly it hit me with his presence in a field in Scotland oh so many years ago. I have been weighed with a sense of his presence right from the start in this present time of healing from cancer. The power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is pouring life into my mortal body and I walk in peace beyond any mortal (well this mortal’s) understanding. He is in me! This is “Christ in me (in you) the hope of glory” It keeps me awake some nights (all good!) and allows me sleep when the ship is storm-tossed.
But he is “on me” too. It makes sense of the times that people say that they can “see” something. Yes he is in me, but to be seen he must be “in sight” – on me. This goes for all of us who “walk in the spirit.” (“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25)
I am fully convinced that Satan comes to kill rob and destroy, and that he would have killed me before my time. I stand on these remarkable verses in Job – “You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. You will come to the grave in full vigour, like sheaves gathered in season.” (Job 5: 25&26)
So with the time I have before I am “gathered” I set myself to know and practise His presence. He is in me, the hope of glory. (That is, he is in me the hope of being revealed). So now I look to have others see him “on me”. He is “in me” for me, but “on me” for others.
“I have become its (the gospel’s) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1: 25-27)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60: 1-3)
How did Bill Johnson put it? “Stand up and shine the best you know how.”
1pm - Mon 30 May
Yesterday I made it to the church meeting! It was such a thrill to be there with this amazing bunch of people. Holy Spirit is showing us all sorts of things and at the moment is truly showing us into the presence of a healing heavenly father.
During the week there had been two significant healings and these were introduced by Norman Daniels who, I think, has a fresh move of the Spirit on him. Call it an annointing, call it what you will, it is most certainly there and in spades!
The leadership team continue to grow in grace and stature – Sarah Hemsall you are a treasure along with your compatriots.
There is a great wave of renewal at the Golden Ball. Religious spirit is flying in the face of the risen Jesus and the love of the Father
So good. So very, very good!
8am - Tue 3 May
We so often struggle with words don’t you think?
When it comes to the deeper stuff of life we try our best and still find that we are misunderstood and somehow come short of what we are reaching for.
I passed a young guy in the street the other day. “How are you?” he asked (a precursor to trying to sell me something.) “Stunning”, I replied, leaving him speechless.
When God made all of this that surrounds us and put us in there the crown it and have (good) dominion over it he didn’t step back and say, “That’s OK then.” No, it was, and is, in his eyes, simply “stunning.”
So here’s the rub. I feel that we are already in “Revival” in the church. This is then followed by some great debate about the matter whilst we miss the wonderful green shoots of revival springing up all around us.
I feel that we are in a “wave” of the spirit of God and another debate follows on.
I feel that we are going deeper into the “river of God” – more discussion.
Listen up. Ruth and I are in deeper than we have ever known – it’s great in here! We are being rolled away on something very akin to a wave – it’s just great out there! Revival? Well there’s no doubting that we are being “revived” and as far as it is possibly up to us, so is everyone we touch in the name of Jesus.
All this whilst we are walking through what is perhaps one of the biggest personal challenges of my/our life. We are in the middle of a stupendous (words again huh?) journey into healing on the sole platform of “God is love, therefore he loves us, period”, and “healing was always part of the complete package delivered by Jesus through the cross, period.”
Women – and some men I guess – used to wear corsets. Well the corsets are coming off.
More trouble with words!
Ah well, be blessed.
12pm - Mon 18 Apr
Falling in love is just such an amazing thing isn’t it?
I have fallen in love with God for no other reason than that he has loved me.
Lovers dream dreams and have visions and the best of these come straight from the heart of God. They help us overcome the obstacles and barriers that are there because of our natural default position:
“Not me…I can’t…it’s always dark…etc. etc. etc.”
When someone shares that dream or vision – well, I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me. But let’s take a bit of a punt at it:
1 God loves me enough to have others think about me when I’m not there
2 He loves me enough to wrap his love in something as tangible as another human being
3 He gives me hope that I will do things that I felt in the deep parts of me – the plans I felt he has for me
4 Then I see more clearly that he not only gave me dreams, but sometimes despite me, or in spite of me, he will see them fulfilled in me.
2pm - Fri 8 Apr
“Going toward the east, the man numbered 500 long steps, and he led me through the water, which covered my feet. He numbered another 500 long steps and led me through the water, which came up to my knees. He numbered another 500 long steps and led me through the water. This time it came above my legs. Again he numbered 500 long steps, and it was a river that I could not walk through. The water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, and no one could cross it.” (Ezekiel 47 v 3 – 5)
There comes a point in the river of God when the river gets me – I no longer have the river.
Paddling and wading may have their moments, but get out deep enough and the river takes over. Man, I so love it!
I fast forward to Philippians (I am magnetised by this thing that Paul passes on to us) where I see that I didn’t take hold of Christ, but he took hold of me because he has plans for me to do His stuff and join in with His game-plan. Deep water was always the destiny. Abandonment to the King of Love was always the only sensible option.
I mean to say, you meet, you fall in love, you lose your heart and then opt to paddle in the shallows with the best thing that ever happened to you? I don’t think so!
Of course, when you hit the love-berg you seem so quickly to find yourself surrounded by the great wise ones of this world (I have been one myself and all too easily drop back into role!) There they are bringing all their wonderful observations to bear:
“Too young! Tsk tsk. It will never last!”
“Believe me, I’ve been there and I’ve got the T-shirt”
“Hurt is round the corner, you mark my words.”
“They’ll suck you dry and move on.”
Where oh where does it end?
Oh, and then when we look foolish in love we get the look down the nose at the idiotic behaviour.
Well guys, there was a King of Israel called David who loved God and was crazy and did great exploits. He “grew up” somewhat, became a King without the crazy love bit, and sank like a stone. Then – because God is a God of second chances (and more – yes much more) – he wakes up as King but a King who recognises that there is one who is King over him. He puts on the old “foolish” ways, and takes up the love-struck abandoned heart routine. He dances for the real love of his life whilst his wife grows sick at the sight:
As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. (2 Samuel 6 v 16)
David or Michal? Control or be taken? Love struck or struck out? Choice!