Wednesday, 27 February 2013

This is War!

My blog has been mostly quiet in the last month, but my life has certainly not been.  A chapter in my life is coming to a close and I'm seeking the Lord's direction for what He would have me do next.  I have ideas, but nothing is clear or has come together yet.  But I trust that God is leading and is preparing something.

At the beginning of the year, I sensed God leading me to do something.  Now I wonder if it is the will of God.  I made the difficult decision to close a season of my life.  I would go to bed confident I had made the right choice and wake up the next morning saying "This is ludicrous."  I went from being confident to confused, not knowing the difference between truth or lies.  I had sought counsel from people I trusted, and am confident in their wisdom, yet I wrestle within me.

As I seek God's will for the next season of life, it's harder to trust His leading today than it was a month ago.  Weeks of inspiration, of sensing God's leading have turned largely silent.  Things are dimmer.  Fears are creeping in.  I look at what I aspire to spend my time doing, then consider my financial needs, and wonder if I should just settle for "normal" drudgery again.  I am hampered with temptations.  There has been conviction of sin, and with it discouragement.  I sit down writing down thoughts about how to serve others and how to meet needs in the next season of life, then my ideas run out and I get stuck.  I fear that if I pursue this, people will misunderstand me.  I'm afraid they'll look at areas of my life and call me a hypocrite.

I understand what's going on though.  I know what's going on, even though I can't see what's ahead of me, even though at times I can't discern truth.  This is war!  That I know.  There is a battle going on in the spiritual realm for my life.  Whatever plans God has for the next season of my life, the kingdom of darkness is opposing it.  Satan does not want me to yield to God's purpose.  He does not want to see me bring vision into peoples' lives, to see captives set free by the truth of God's Word, to see broken lives heal, forgive, love, and be filled with joy. So he will meddle in my life.  He will bring fear, temptation, and cause me to beat myself up over little things.  When God convicts me of sin, he will play the role of an accuser, telling me I'm not fit for God's use.

 So what does this mean for me?  It means I have to fight.  It means I have to look to Jesus, to the Word of God.  It means I have to wrestle with God in prayer and command the enemy to leave me.  It means I constantly have to pray that God would speak truth to me and that I will be able to discern it.  I fight against a kingdom I cannot see, because I'm in the midst of a war.

As Christians, I don't think we fight enough.  I don't think we're mindful enough of what goes on in the spiritual realm.  Part of it is because we can't see it.  Part of it is because this war is fought with intangible weapons.  Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God and able to pull down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4).  Our greatest weapon is prayer and some of us are just too lazy to storm the throne room of God with our prayers.  Also, we seem to forget, that in the name of Jesus, even demons have to obey us.  We have to understand that and believe it.

God has not left us powerless in this battle but we have to use the tools He has given us to fight.

What kind of battle do you find yourself in today?  Pick up your sword and fight!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll

Who Do You Think You Are: Finding Your True Identity in Christ by Mark Driscoll is essentially a study of Paul's letter to the Ephesians.  As the subtitle suggests, it's about understanding our identity in Christ and each chapter focuses on a different aspect of our identity.  He starts each chapter with a story and uses scripture to help the reader understand that we are in Christ, saints, blessed, saved, reconciled, afflicted, gifted, forgiven, loved, victorious, etc.

This book captivated me from the first chapter.  Mark is very direct, his message comes through strong and clear and his words are thought-provoking.  Yes, the book is fairly theological, but not to the point where it's difficult to understand.  It helped me to better understand my position in Christ and that my identity is not shaped by the things I do, but rather that understanding my identity will shape the things I do.

The setup of this book is great.  Mark references a lot of scripture, but he puts the references in footnotes, so it doesn't clutter the pages.  Notes and references at the end of the book allow you to dig deeper into things without them being distracting.  This makes it easy for someone to simply read through or study on a deeper level.

There were some theological points I didn't quite agree with, but nothing that would hinder me from recommending the book to others.  I would definitely encourage all Christians to read it, and keep a notebook and pen handy so you can learn as much as possible.  This could be a great tool to help Christians understand their identity and live victorious lives.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through  I was not required to write a positive review and the views expressed are my own.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Reflecting Him Part 2

This post is a continuation of Reflecting Him Part 1.  Just so you know, my weeks aren't always that hard, and I did highlight the hard parts.  I did get some feedback that indicated surprise.

What I began learning at the end of that hard week, and am still in the process of learning is to intercede for people even in the midst of my trials.  To intercede means to plead on another's behalf or to act as a mediator in a dispute.  The word is often used a term for praying for other people.  And although I'm learning the importance of that, I'm also learning to go beyond praying for them.  I'm learning the importance of reaching out to them personally.

You see, I'm not the only one with problems.  I'm not the only who is going through or has gone through pain.  I'm not the only one who hurts, who gets depressed, who faces family challenges, work challenges, who lacks clarity, who struggles spiritually, who gets sick, etc.  I am surrounded by hurting, broken people who can't walk their road alone.  I'm surrounded by people who need a friend to come alongside, to listen, to share their pain.  Even if I don't always know how to help them, sometimes they just need to know somebody else cares, that they're not forgotten.

Think about this.  It is possible that for some reason, you are the only one who sees another's pain.  Perhaps other people notice, but choose to ignore it.  Or perhaps you're the only one a person has had the confidence and trust to share their struggles with.  Perhaps you've just experienced something that allows you to understand what that person is going through.  Don't assume someone else will talk to a hurting person.  This really hit me personally last week when somebody said "You're the only person who asks me."

Sometimes it's hard to make the effort.  It's hard to reach out to others and to listen when I'm bogged down in my own problems.  I'm working through a massive load in my life right now, but there are a few individuals and families that I have had to be intentional about staying connected with.  I've had to be intentional about showing them that I care about them too, and that I'm not just dumping my problems on them, which I can do very easily.

There are days where I feel like I have a right to my "down time".  Some people like to just "veg" and recharge.  Jesus needed down time too.  He needed time away from His work and peoples' demands, but most often, He wasn't just sitting by Himself in a mountain somewhere.  He was spending time with the Father and recharging by His strength.  No, I don't know what He always prayed about, but I think He probably spent a good deal of time interceding for others.  And after that, He went and served them again.

We all get worn out.  We all have hard days and seasons where we just don't know how to keep going.  Tenth Avenue North has a song called "Worn" which has really come to mean a lot to me personally the last couple months.  It echoes how I have felt many days, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  I encourage you to listen to it, and gather strength, knowing there's hope and this is not the end.  Then look around for someone who needs your prayers and encouragement.