God is up to new things

I am sorry but I can’t resist putting this on! My kids crack up at it every time it is soo funny!

 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.20 The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,to give drink to my people, my chosen. Isaiah 43 (NIV)

Why do we feel so stirred, so challenged, so apprehensive – all into one? This is an adventure of a life time and that means there will be some scary bits as well as exhilarating moments. I remember when we took our kids to Florida – I was so scared about the big rides but excited about the fun. I remember the strange mix of emotions and I feel a little like that now.

We are so used to familiarity – doing things a certain way, thinking in certain patterns, going through the same old motions that we don’t realise we are doing it until someone challenges what we are doing. When a challenge happens and we feel uncomfortable we can either run from it, take a stance against it or go with it. Let us be aware of what reaction we feel to what God is doing right now and make sure that we are  malleable before God and willing to change. I would hate to think that we were compared to the Israelites who had hard and stubborn hearts.

I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way.              Isaiah 42:16 (NLT)

This path is unfamiliar – no wonder it feels so strange to us, no wonder some of us are thrown off balance a little. Don’t panic – just learn. God is shaking things up and asking you to think completely differently.

Do you see it?  What can you see? What is new and springing up around you? Where is the water gushing out from in this place? Where should you gather to drink – it wont be the old familiar watering holes. It is important you find the water flow and the people to spend time with as this isn’t something you can learn in books; this experience is personal and can only be caught. Books are helpful as they can help formulate your thoughts but the understanding of the new thing only comes through revelation. We each have our own journey to travel.

God provides us with all the refreshing we want on the adventure so that we have the

Old and New

Old and New (Photo credit: TheOnlyAnla who is taking a break until her math t)

strength to concentrate on our hearts and our lives. I am finding that it isn’t a passive training camp. This wilderness training college takes hard work, homework and thoughtful reflection.  After all this is about transformation of our culture, heart, leadership, worship,  freedom, identity, relationship with God and the  way we love, honour, respect. We have spent too long aligning ourselves to thing we thought mattered – but now it is time to align ourselves with heaven.

Today; Tell God that your heart is open to him. That you are willing to be challenge because transformation is far more important that hurting your pride. 🙂 (its ok that goes for me too!)

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Learn more about how much the Father loves you

Try reading this book – Daddy, you Love Me: Living in the Approval of your Heavenly Father   Brent Lokker

Daddy Loves You

Daddy Loves You (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

I realise that for some of you this title will put you off. It seems a little gushy for you. I felt a little like this and find the book perhaps over the top. What I love about it is that it completely challenges the way I think and feel about my Father God. I am letting it wash over me until one day I understand it  and believe it fully.

The Oasis of Marah

The pre-requisite to the fullness of the adventure, for the Israelites, was a visit to the oasis of Marah (Exodus 15:22ff)

The Israelites had suffered emotionally and physically after a life of slavery in Egypt. The atrocities they had experienced , the injustices they had seen the oppression they had carried would have taken its toll on all the people. The  Egyptians  were without mercy, ruthless, oppressive and systematically butchered the Israelite children  (Exodus 1:13- 14) It says in verse 14 that the Egyptians made their life bitter, this was a culture where bitterness was rife.

Now at the beginning of a new journey God wants to give his people a fresh start. He wants to take away all the bitterness and heal their hearts (I am the Lord who heals you Exodus 15:26)

Bitterness comes in our lives when we have had unwanted experiences – failures, disappointments, setbacks or loss – that are perceived to be beyond our control. Bitterness occurs when one believes, rightly or wrongly, that other people could have prevented the undesired outcome. Regret involves blaming oneself. Bitterness, much like other negative emotions, could bring on illness.

Why do we want to hold onto bitterness? It is because the letting go of something that has affronted and hurt us down to our very core is hard. What we don’t always realise is that our core, whilst hosting bitterness, becomes full of spiritually rotting, putrid slime. This seeps into our thought world, sleep time and daily living. We find that if someone presses a sore place in our heart we explode into anger spewing this rancid acid out damaging those around. For some of us we implode  swallowing this gunk back down to our stomachs making us feel sick and a burning pain within.

In the passage in Exodus 15 we find that the way to heal bitterness was to through a pieceDSCN0611 of wood in the water that God had chosen. This is a picture of the healing the cross brings to our lives. We are healed because he gave his live for ours.

Today: Let us look how entering freedom means we leave the past behind. Think of situations where you may still feel bitter about the past. Tomorrow we will start to look on Monday at the process of healing bitterness.

In the family of God the children grow up

Paint_by_ChibitFrom the beginning of time we find a God who gives his children freedom.

Without free will we cannot make our own choices, learn from our mistakes and grow up. It has always been the heart of our Father that we mature; that we learn, love and reach our full potential in Him. This is when we are like the crocus as we open our petals and bloom into something beautiful.

Our family history

These people are our ancestors. Each person represents the journey of a family of peoples.

  •  Adam – created a grown man ready to reproduce, sin broke his connection with his Father. Mankind regressed had to be birthed again.
  • Noah/child – the ark is a picture of baby in bulrushes covered in tar. A family hidden and saved from destruction and evil just like baby Moses. He was birthed into the cleansed earth through gushing waters
  • Abraham/toddler – wide eyed and fresh he is shown the stars and sands of God’s world. He starts to understand there is a God and builds a relationship with him
  • Isaac/child – learning how family and relationships work
  • Jacob/ young teen – tussling and wrestling with ideas, finding his feet, seeking independence alongside relationship, finding own thoughts, his own heart
  • Joseph /older teen – finding true identity among those that think differently (Egyptians), leaning to take responsibility, make good choices, understanding family forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Moses and the children of Israel/transitioning into adulthood – experiencing the process of leaving home, finding their own ground/freedom, initiation of baptism through the red sea

The phrase “Children of Israel” is used 335 times in the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the bible). This shows how God was  training them and teaching them as his own children.

The Wilderness

Moses and the Israelites now reach the cusp of adulthood/maturity. It is time for them to leave their childish ways behind them and live as supernatural adults (1 Corinthians 13:10-12). It is time for them to leave the house of Egypt and their identity of slaves behind. They set out on a journey to find who they really are. Egypt was never their home and slavery was never to be their identity – God wanted to show them who he had made them to be.

Having left Egypt they are about to enter God’s college – his boot camp. This is commonly known as the wilderness. It is here that God’s children were to start their valuable training. They would start to learn about  their ancestors, who is this God they worship and where do they belong.

Reflecting on our own family walk as the people of God we stand in a place of transition. There is before us our own land (literally) to take, our own promises to bring into fulfillment and our own Jericho to overcome. In order to prepare us for this before us for the next few months is an expanse of training. This time may look like a place of drifting and lack but actually it is a vital stage of maturation that will us enable us to steward heaven coming to earth in revival, miracles and wonders.

Today: Think about how we, as the people of God, are walking in a new place of freedom and open space.  As we enter  God’s special college for maturity count yourself into the boot camp. What do you hope to learn during this time?