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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mary's story/testimony

That be me!!
Yep!
This is a little bit of my Story!!

The beginning of my ‘life’ is probably a little hard to imagine for a ‘westerner!’.. The reason being that  I was born to a peasant family in a Greek island village, myself and my two other sisters!
So for those who don’t know what life for a ‘peasant’ girl is,  I will explain...

We had no running water... our water came from a well that my dad built... we had no Electricity... so that means no refrigerator/television etc... No toys..! Not one toy in my possession!! Yes  indeed, we had no movies! And in case you are wondering, yep, we had no ‘toilet’ :-P

 My cousins would come in summer from Athens and they would wash us!! Haha! Not such a fond memory!! And mum used to soap us down in the ocean in summer!!! :-P

 We ate mainly what my parents grew on the property.. Corn, green vegies, etc.. We had eggs and each Sunday, for some reason we had chicken!! About twice a year, a local would ‘kill’ a cow or a ‘goat’ and we would be given a portion..


(that's my sis.. two peas in a pod!!)

and still are!!! so close!!




Most of my fondest memories were with my middle older sister.. (For some reason I don’t remember playing with my oldest  sister! )  My middle sister and I  were always close.. I always cherished  her friendship.. My parents were always working.. I don’t remember doing anything with them.. If anything, I just remember learning by instinct to keep out of their way.... Unfortunately I  never felt loved or wanted..

My sister and I  would play with apples, dirt and  stones.. I remember always picking asparagus, raspberries and olives from our few olive trees and running away from snakes!!
When I was 5 my parents took me to school.. (Although starting age was 6) .. The school was a 30 minute walk, there was about 15 students from grades one to grade six!!

I remember a lot of stuff in that school.. I remember being so badly teased because I was so young.. And I remember a near death experience from them ganging up on me and tickling me to the point where I could hardly breathe.. Hence the saying ‘tickle me to death’.. I relate to it!!
(He always had my back :-D)

(On a more serious note, I did endure a couple of life threatening situations..! When I was 10 and on a school outing, I slipped and fell down a waterfall.. I should have  come up with at least  a few broken bones but survived unharmed...Abuse of drugs when I was a teenager.. and the scariest of all a  crazed ex-police officer held a gun to my head but didn’t shoot, yet he shot everyone else on his path..etc..so yes, I know WHO has the real power to take my life.. :-D)



The other thing I remember is when I was 6 and officially in grade 1, the teacher was teaching the older kids history.. One particular day he was teaching them about Australia..  I don’t know what it was,  but I remember looking up from my desk and staring at the map of Australia.. Then, on the way home I started running joyfully and screaming out to anyone passing by, “I’m going to Australia.. I’m going to Australia”.. I really don’t remember anyone’s reaction, but I can imagine them smiling at the silly peasant girl!!
(I would go alone to church)

(that's my real dress!)


My grandma went to  church every Sunday.. And I remember she did every fast possible..  So I became curious about her “doings”..I started going to church.  My parents were not interested so I often went on my own.. I was just curious and I enjoyed putting on a really nice dress . I had only two or three dresses :-/


When I was eight years old, I came home from school to find that my dad had got passports and we were going to Australia!! Wow! I remember that country!!
The next year was a real ‘blur’... the things I remember  most were a vivid dream I had, a pair of trousers (my first ones!) and getting lost in a big ship!!..
Now I will share the dream.. It was simple, but left such an impression on me that I haven’t forgotten it and I never will..

I had learned a little bit about God and His Son in school and of course when I went to the church there was some preaching.. As religious and dead as it was (from lacking the presence of the Holy Spirit) I was still able to hear some of the gospel.. So I kind of knew who Jesus was.. I knew He was holy.. I thought His Father was very angry with me and had this sense that I would never measure up to this God they talked about.. But Jesus, I had a tiny glimpse of hope that maybe.. if I  was good enough.. just maybe He will feel sorry for me... that’s all I knew as a 6 year old!
(I had a dream Yeshua came to me!)

(thats us on the ship!)



But in the dream.. Jesus came to visit me in my room.. I remember the room got filled with ‘gold’ colour (Gold remains my favourite colour until this day!).. and He didn’t come alone! He had some friends/apostles with Him.. He was saying something to me(the words of which I have long forgotten) but I had a sense that it was because of Him that I was going to Australia.. I still can’t explain it any better!!

The culture shock in Australia left me some deep emotional scars.. I was as lonely as can be. I was so teased at school because I looked different and I couldn’t speak English.. I was very confused and very sad.. In a sense I lost connection with my parents even more so..(They became busy with work 24/7) and my sisters were in High School whilst I was still in a primary school .. I had no one to talk to about it.. I buried my grief and learned to wear a mask very quickly.. I longed for company, I longed to belong.. I longed all day long!!

We are about the only Greek family I know in Australia that didn’t  have a single relative!!
I remember vividly from a young age until I was 13 I would kneel by my bed and pray to the God I thought was up there.. I would thank Him that He was keeping us all well.. I would name every family member to Him for His protection, but I wouldn’t dare bother Him with my needs.... I stopped this around 13..


The next 3 years were very dark for me.... I left home when I turned 13..Returned a year later..
As I was growing up by the age of 16 I had found comfort in all the ‘wrong’ things! The friends I had were also ‘lost’ and sad like me.. They were not a good influence! I got involved in lying, smoking drugs, wagging school.. In fact by year 8 I was hardly at school.. 

(the story of my teenage years really needs a few pages to be told.. so I might write about this another time.. but basically, in the natural,  I should of been dead!)

One good thing about this turmoil was that my parents realised I had ‘issues’ so to ‘save’ me, my mum took me back to Greece! 

It was good in a sense.. I enjoyed reconnecting with all my cousins at first..But by then  I had a taste for rebellion.. I continued making wrong choices.. Sadly  I noticed after a few weeks in Greece, I wasn’t embraced by anyone because to them  I was a ‘kseni’.. A foreigner..
I felt like I was in ‘nowhere’ land... (I know  that so many people have hard lives.. I understand that some people get robbed from having parents, or health and many get violated or other horrible things happen to them.. I do understand we each have a cross to carry in this life and it’s quite rare for someone to get only rainbows as a child growing up.. so yes, others had it worst than me, but my heart at this point was so consumed with grief and longing that it was unbearable to continue the way I was..)

'I started searching..'


When I returned to Australia,  something had changed.. I realised I had a deep yearning inside me.. I changed from being very ‘shallow’ to being a deep thinker and very passionate about finding the ‘truth’.. I became  very serious about this  quest..  I knew there was a God.. I didn’t know where He was or how to find Him.. So I thought, I will start ‘looking’.. A new addiction had emerged!! I will never forget the first time I made this decision.. I was in a park which was opposite a ‘Greek’ church.. I was talking to someone very weird that I had met who claimed to be ‘John the Baptist’.. ;-) I remember he said to me that a space ship was above this park but I couldn’t see it.. I was fascinated at his imagination.. Remember, I grew up without toys, television, magazines.. My imagination was pretty innocent!!  So I was fascinated.. I wondered if this was all true..I really did.. So when he left I looked over at the church across the road and I went in.. It was during the day and nobody was around.. There was a big icon of “Jesus” and I remember just sitting down and staring at this picture and talking to it..  This is what I said..”If you are real, can you cause this picture to move” so I  waited..”Please move because I am going on a quest to find the truth and if you are not real then I have to move on”.. So I waited..And there was no ‘movement’!!





So the next decade consisted of anything and everything I could get my head, and my hands on..
Here’s a quick list..Yoga - read all the books, practised the art, went to India..studied their religion.. Martial Arts, Kung fu.. it was a spiritual one  as I was aiming to  ‘attain enlightenment’.. worked hard training 6 days a week and fasting retreats.. had a go at studying Chinese medicine and practiced for a while in alternative medicine...
(My bus pass to Eilat!)

(Double rainbow in Eilat when I was there! It actually rained for a week!! IN THE DESERT!! )

I went hard into the New Age.. For a while I truly believed that I was not from this world.. I had embraced a form of reality that was so foreign and complex.  I think back on it today and I can only shake my head !!!!
There’s more.. much more.. there was studying the ‘Koran’ and looking carefully at every religion under the sun... Part of my journey included going to Israel and staying there for a year and half..oh how I loved Israel!!  I continued to travel and study.. I even lived in the desert for a while!!


Years passed and I became very knowledgeable.. let me rephrase.. I had filled my mind and soul with  garbage!!!  I had by now become very popular among my peeps as ‘having the latest enlightened thought’ and move etc... I had a reputation to uphold as peeps would come to find answers.... (by the way, upholding a reputation is just exhausting!!!)
(I would cry out to God.. :`-(......)


BUT inside, in my heart somewhere, there was a big, empty hole.. a loneliness and a hunger that ‘felt’ unrepairable and instead of this head knowledge/soul feeding making it better, it grew worst!!!  I remember crying out to ‘God’, whoever He was, to ‘please hear me’, to ‘please help me’.. I would cry out to Him quite often..

In the meantime I continued doing ‘courses’ learning the latest ‘art’ whether it was New Age, ancient or something completely random!!
I was a little bit too ‘full on’ to keep a steady relationship, so I was pretty much a loner!

Anyway.. when I was at the ‘peak’ of my search/emptiness/deception..I became pregnant!
Wow what a surprise! I remember for the first 2 months I was ‘out’ of it!  All I could do was watch ‘Back to the Future’ and the only food I could handle was spinach, carrot and oranges!!
A decision was made to go to Greece and visit my parents who had moved back there several years before.. My son to be, Dimitri’s dad, came with me.. It was difficult as we were not ‘together’ any more.. Oh so complicated life was!!

I was three months pregnant when we arrived.. After much persuasion from my parents I decided to stay and give birth to my son in Greece.. In the meantime, I never missed the chance to ‘preach’ my new age stuff to anyone around..
When Dimitri was born, my sister came from Australia to support me.. It was the loveliest thing anyone has ever done for me!! It’s true what they say that ‘time’ is the most precious thing you can give to someone!!

She was there for two weeks.. Right in the middle I gave birth!! Perfect!!



A week after she returned to Australia I received a letter from her.. It read something like this.. “Dear sister,  we have been deceived.. “ (I am afraid I had a fair bit to do with taking her down a few wrong paths and visa versa!) She went on to write, “I found out the truth.. Jesus is the Way.. I have given my life to Him.. you can stop looking..”  What? Stop looking? That was a ‘new’ concept to me!!

(A dark cloud coming toward me terrified me!!)


 "No man knows the brightness of the gospel 'till he understands the blackness of those clouds which surround the Law of Lord." ~ Charles Spurgeon


Well that was interesting timing.. I will tell you why..  That summer in Corfu was the hottest summer they had in 100 years.. During the day we survived by sitting  under the huge fig tree for shade and at night we kept all doors and windows wide open.. It was horrible!! So when my Dimmy was 20 or so days old, the day before the letter from my sister, I was in bed with him, looking out at the sky through the open doors.. and suddenly my ears popped (my ear drums actually burst) following a really loud and piercing noise.. I thought I was losing it!! And then fear gripped me.. I saw this thick, dark cloud in the distance coming towards me.. I can’t explain it any better than this.. It felt like it was coming to ‘get’ me..to  consume me somehow..I felt sick with fear for me and my son.. so I desperately cried out to God.. The only thing I could remember after 10 years of junk was this simple prayer.. but I cried it out from deep within my being... “Our Father in heaven.. please forgive me and I forgive others.. deliver me from evil..”  I just kept saying what I could remember from the Lord’s prayer.. (I used to read the bible a bit as well as the other 200 books I had!)..  Just as suddenly as the darkness had come upon me it quickly and suddenly subsided..


·         
Today, I believe in my heart that at the very  moment that I  cried out to God for mercy,  He heard me, and saved my soul.. There was nobody around, there was no altar call, no sinners prayer.. there was just a simple, heartfelt cry to Him..I was never the same person after that heartfelt prayer.

ALL WHO CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE 'SAVED'...
(the HOLY WORD OF GOD)

YESHUA IS THE WAY..


So it was, the next morning after this bizarre experience I read my sisters letter.. It grabbed my attention immediately..I ran to get the bible I had with my other books, and I just happened to open it up in the gospel of John where I noticed the following verse.. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” . Wow I thought to myself.  Instantly I knew it to be true.. All doubts vanished and an overwhelming sense of joy and relief filled my soul as the ultimate reality dawned on me - I had finally found the truth, or more accurately the Truth had found me.  I fell to my knees in gratitude and worship.. I prayed a prayer that my sister had sent with her letter.. I asked the Lord to forgive me and to take over my life and I said I was sorry for all these years of being deceived and deceiving others.  I also thanked Him for sending Jesus to die on a cross for my sins so that I could be set free.

The first thing I did after that was to run to my niece (who I had been teaching new age eastern philosophies) and I proclaimed to her ‘I have been deceived!  Everything i have been teaching you is a lie.  Jesus is the Truth’..

I didn’t ‘feel’ any different to the day before.. but I do remember this.. I took all my statues, books, photos, black belts, certificates etc associated with the new age and I threw them out.. No one told me to.. It was just spontaneous! I just KNEW all this stuff that I had practised and studied was a lie and I didn’t want to be deceived any longer..

I began reading a book my sister sent me with the letter and the prayer!!! It was a book about the present darkness and it had some of King David’s prayers in it..I was so impressed how King David could talk to God so openly and freely!  It gave me courage to be real with God and King David quickly became one of my favourite heroes from the Bible!!  I often would ask God, why did you leave me for so long in deception?.. I still don’t fully understand why but at least now I can fully appreciate the wonder of knowing and experiencing Truth!
Looking back, I can see that God’s had to get me away from all my ‘followers’ in Australia and take me to a remote little place where I was born, to be ‘born’ again!

I began to devour the Bible and couldn’t wait to go back to Australia and go to ‘church’.  I didn’t really know what that meant or looked like except that my sister said it was really good!



Dimitri was 6 months when I got the "ok" ;-) from my parents to travel back to Australia!!  I went to church of course with my sister.. It was very different from the ‘Greek orthodox’ one I can tell  you!! Clapping hands and singing songs!! Oh wow! Anyway, I wanted to be baptised straight away.. but I couldn’t L I had to do a course.. (I still don’t get that!) My love for the Lord grew and I knew I had a burning desire to tell everyone about Him..





A few years later ‘church’ became a bit of a challenge for me! The  happy clappy feelings had left.. and the more I read and understood the Bible and saw the contrast with what was actually being taught and practised by those around me, I became a bit disillusioned and grieved by the lack of holiness and Fear of God and lack of room given for God’s Spirit to move.. It was a very difficult time because on the one hand, I knew in my spirit that things were not as they should be, and on the other hand I knew that I was a part of the problem -as I struggled with pride and being judgmental.



Psalm 139 is a treasure in my heart!!






Just to go back a bit.. The Lord had a lot of work to do with and in me!!  I have to acknowledge that a lot of healing took place in my life whilst participating in the couple of churches I attended so I am very grateful for that.. I will share one amazing healing.  I was never able to shake off the ‘feeling’ (or for me it was more like a‘trauma’) of rejection..  It ruled me somehow!!  I went to have some Holy Spirit prayer and ministry when Dimitri was around 4 years old.. These gorgeous older woman were so tuned in with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.. Anyway, the Lord healed me and delivered me from the fear of rejection.  And surprisingly enough, it went as far back as my mother’s womb..  Unfortunately, my mum didn’t want me, so she tried on several occasions to abort me.. using herbs and even punching her stomach and jumping up and down!!!.. To cut the long story short, the Doctor ended up lying to her, saying that she wasn’t pregnant anymore until it was too late for an abortion!! So Jesus really wanted me here!! Woop! 
 





I remember during this time of healing and processing it all, I had a revelation that God was with me from the moment I was conceived.. Indeed Psalm 139 is my favourite passage of scripture..” For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” It felt like it was written just for me!!   To complete the healing, God gave me a picture of Jesus being close to me and waiting with arms open wide to welcome me when I was delivered and I heard Him say “ you are here on this earth for Me”.. I have called you by name”..This vision changed everything! 

I think that’s about the time that I ‘felt’ the hole and emptiness in my heart being filled with the reality of the Love of God in my life.. It’s an awesome privilege being accepted by God, not just Jesus but also the Father and Holy Spirit.
Anyway, we continued to ‘go’ to church.. As much as I loved and served the people there, I somehow started to backslide.. but no one knew!! It felt people were only looking to see what I was ‘doing’.. not at my relationship with God.. I was involved in so many church programs!! Music team, Community Groups! Deaconing! And whatever else now I can’t remember!!!  But Arggggg!!  I was losing my passion to know God more!! I just felt drained and lukewarm!







"Took a step of faith!"




Then a friend of ours wanted to pioneer a church in our local town.. We sensed God calling us to support him! It was a huge change going from a few hundred denominational church down to 2 or 3 families or so independent church..I started to renew my relationship with God.. I became very passionate about His Word.. I joined an on-line bible Institute and dived right in.   Verse by Verse.. I just delighted to explore.. meditate.. wait.. and constantly look to find the almighty Author..I am still going through the bible verse by verse, book by book..and loving it.  According to my husband, he has never see anyone grow so much spiritually as I have since studying the bible seriously. (my husband added this line – seriously)

Anyway,  one year later I had another dream.. The Lord spoke to me in this dream and asked me to start ‘meeting ’ at home.. He said in the dream not to invite anyone..He would send the people He wanted... After a few months of continuing to attend Sunday church, this vision I had was just burning me up inside.. I had to do it.. I felt compelled to obey..

 

The Lord had impressed a day in my heart to do this.. So I am not sure how it happened but this one night, me and my hubby and my best friend were sitting there.. I shared the dream and said to them “I think God really wants to do this now..” We prayed, we just knew it was for real and had visions of Jesus holding a lantern and saying to us.. ‘Follow Me’..
Oh wow! I realised I hadn’t been following Him totally!! I had been caught up in a system of Churchianity and had been neglecting the simple privilege of a moment by moment Spirit led life!! 

John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

So we met, just the 3 of us, week after week.. We felt so close to the Lord.. the scripture of where ‘two or three are gathered in My Name” became alive!!! His presence was healing us and renewing our mind.. We knew we needed to allow Him to wash away our religious mindsets.. our ‘churchy’ ways.. and find the WAY to Him again.. Jesus was our teacher, we were His disciples..
Our commitment became to follow Him.. In His dust, step by step..
What an adventure it has been!! The Way the Lord had brought different people together!! It’s just so awesome to be part of what He is doing!!

And to this day.. We meet in homes..I can honestly say we have not invited anyone  to come to ‘our’ home church..because it is not ours but the Lord’s.  And the Lord Himself has drawn everyone that we are doing life with right now! He is able to do that!

We love our brothers and sisters in the more traditional church structures and acknowledge that God is powerfully at work in many of them.  We are learning that unless the Holy Spirit is leading our meetings it is all in vain!!  We realise that it’s not even about the ‘meeting’ but about every moment yielding our lives to a Holy God..  And that is the bottom line – whether God has called us to a home church or a more traditional church structure, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit and using the gifts that He bestows upon us for the building up of His glorious body and bride to be.

We realise that we are desperately needing Him more and more to co-operate with His sanctifying work within us.. We need His truth, His grace and His mercy to get through each day..
So I am back on my knees just like when I was a little girl – only now I know the One whom I worship, I don’t need to fantasise about Him any more.. My desire is for my wonderful Saviour.. I am desperate to know Him more intimately.. I still have days where I get complacent and lazy and do not seek Him.  But I am waking up a lot more quickly nowadays, because I feel terrible inside and life loses its meaning without Him!   I am forever grateful Lord ..




Amen!! It is Finished!! Praise be the Name of My Lord, YESHUA!!





God has given us HIS only SON.. Jesus Christ.. Yeshua... Through Him I have been forgiven, setfree.. through Him I am connected and united with what I was searching for all those years.. Through Jesus Christ, I have been made a child of God and I have been given citizenship in Heaven..

 

The Lord says in Isaiah.. ‘By His stripes, we are healed’.. I know that a lot of people use this for ‘healing’ in their physical body, but to me it is so much more.. I was lost, deceived and dead inside.. By His stripes, His blood shed on the cross two thousand years ago, he purchased me! He healed my relationship with my Father in Heaven! Jesus took the penalty of my sin on Himself and made me righteous in HIM.. I was separated from the Father because of my iniquity.. the only penalty for sin was death.. Jesus paid for it! He said “IT IS FINISHED’..It’s amazing news.. It’s an amazing truth! He is the WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.. I know because, I was dead and now I am ALIVE.. It’s all because of HIM..

 

I want to love and obey God not because I want His blessing.. but I know I have been blessed.. I can’t imagine where I would be without Him today.. I don’t want to.. I am so blessed!! I still face a spiritual battle nearly everyday.. (the Lord has provided weapons for it though!).. I still feel lonely at times.. Hey, I am alive therefore I experience carrying my cross in one way or another.. but I am not alone! The Lord is with me..His Holy Spirit dwells in my heart!!!!



"it sure is!"

 I just wanted this to be a little story about my life to share with some precious brothers and sisters who I talk to everyday but don’t know much about me!!




And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23).

'Holy and Mighty! Just and Loving!' Merciful and Grace! Fear the Lord!!!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies..

Keep on persuing LoVe!! It never fails...
GOD IS LOVE..


With much Agape love,
Mary :-) xx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktjBfqPwH4M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQGJdTpMUcU

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20139&version=NKJV

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If you were to take a strong stand for the Lord, what would be the cost? What might happen to you?

Exodus 23:2  tells us.. “Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd…”

At one time or another, we all deal with the pressure that’s put on us to conform to the norm, or to act in a certain way.

How successfully we handle that pressure depends on us—how we feel about ourselves and the kind of inner strength we develop, how clear we are on what we truly believe.

The truth is it’s much easier to follow the crowd. This puts a new light on the scripture where Jesus says that wide is the gate and broad the way that  leads to destruction..
To enter by the narrow gate requires courage..It requires our moment by moment decision to “die” to any desires to please the crowd.. and to be willing to be unpopular.. There is a cost involved in following the Lord.. I just read Luke 14:27,33..
We truly need to fix our attention on God.. To recognize what He wants from us and respond.. Unlike the cultures around us that is always dragging us down to its level, we need God to allow God to bring out the best in us..
I often think of Noah.. Most people who lived in his day were swept along with the crowd.. Noah followed God’s commands..
Genesis 6:1-3, 12, 7:1
That’s just hard to imagine! The results though was they were the only ones saved from the flood! -

Pontius Pilate is another  example of someone who gave in to peer pressure..
Matthew 27:24-26
I believe that Pilot knew that Jesus was innocent but he caved in to political pressure..He abandoned what he knew was right when he decided to please everyone else to keep himself ‘safe’..
My goodness! Even Job didn’t escape this!! Job 31:34 because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside--
We all must be careful not to make choices based on preferences to the majority.. We will fall into compromise if we fear men above honouring God’s will..

I myself need to remember this daily! It’s not about making people ‘happy’ but honouring  God.. take Him at His Word.. and following hard after Him..


I am constantly ‘preaching’ to my son who just turned 13 and has to deal with peer pressure.. I tell him not to be driven by fear and be concerned about what others think of him.. and not to compromise what he knows is truth.. It’s just peer pressure that we feel we need to compromise our Christian values.. This is so dangerous!! It is a difficult lesson though, and I realize that I must first walk this way before I can influence my son or others to do the same…  God’s advice in the bible is quite clear.. Proverbs 1:10-15..’do not go along with them..!!’..

And as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:8.. We stand true to the Lord whether others honour us or despise us, whether they criticize us or commend us..”

We must also remember this and keep this truth close to our heart if we are to stand.. Jesus cares for us and loves us despite if the whole world seems to be against us because of our choices to honour Him..We don’t have to be concerned about what others think of us.. I pray we would all be like the apostle Paul.. He stood faithful to God whether people praised him or condemned him.. He remained active, joyous and content even in the most difficult times!! Lord help us to stand true to You and to refuse to compromise our standard of living to please men!!

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"……….       Romans 12:2 
I found this and think it’s a great summary of biblical examples on this subject.. so I am including them here..

Examples:
  1. In the days of Noah, the crowd perished and only eight survived (Genesis 7:13,21–23; 1 Peter 3:20).
     
  2. After the flood, the crowd wanted to build a city and a tower, and they did not want to fill the whole earth even though God told them to do this (Genesis 11:1–9; compare 9:1,7).
     
  3. In the days of Abraham, the crowd wanted to worship idols, including Abraham’s family (Joshua 24:2).
     
  4. In the days of Moses, the crowd worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32).
     
  5. In the days of Joshua and Caleb, the majority of the spies were afraid to conquer the land (Numbers 13-14).  The majority did not believe God.
     
  6. In the wilderness, the overwhelming majority of Israelites dropped dead (Numbers 14:29,30,32; Hebrews 3:17–19; 1 Cor. 10:5).
     
  7. In the days of Samuel, the majority of Israelites wanted a king so that they could be like all the other nations (1 Samuel 8:4–7).
     
  8. In the days of King Saul, the entire Israelite army was afraid of giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:11,24), but one young lad dared to be different (1 Samuel 17:32).
     
  9. In the days of Elijah, there were 450 prophets of Baal and only one prophet of the LORD (1 Kings 18).  God was with the one and God was against the 450.
     
  10. In the days of Micaiah, there were 400 false prophets and only one true prophet (1 Kings 22).
     
  11. In the days of Daniel, the crowd bowed down to the giant golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, and only three men refused to do so (Daniel 3).
     
  12. Jesus said that the majority (the crowd) is headed for hell and the minority is headed for heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).
     
  13. It was the crowd that yelled "Crucify Him!" (Matthew 27:22–23; see how Pilate followed the crowd in Mark 15:15).
     
  14. In the days of the Reformation, the majority of the religious people in Germany did not understand that salvation was by faith rather than by works.  Martin Luther stood alone with God.  God plus one is a majority!
     
  15. In the days of the man of sin (the Antichrist), the crowd will follow the beast (Revelation 13) and will take the mark of the beast.  The minority will follow Christ even if it means being killed for their faith.
     


Love Mary J
Keep on persuing love.. IT NEVER FAILS..
 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My dessert wandering.. :-/

I am just beginning a new study.. the book of Deuteronomy!!
I am so looking forward to discovering more of God’s character in these scriptures..

It’s fascinating how an eleven day journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the way of mount Seir took 40 years..

Wow, think about that for a moment.  It took only three days to get Israel out of Egypt; but it took 40 years to get “Egypt” out of Israel!

As I was thinking about all this and imagining what it would have been like for the people of Israel, I could find myself identifying with how difficult it must have been.. wanting to go back to Egypt.  There is something about comfort and keeping the status quo that is quite captivating, even when you are in slavery..
What I am also realising through this amazing story is how God has a purpose for us in the ‘desert’.
Well for me.. I am unashamedly sharing with you that I find myself in a desert right now.
I am asking God How and Why I am here?.. I yearn to find His purpose.. Why would He have anyone spend time here..I am aware that there is much blessing here and one thing I sense not to do is seek a quick deliverance out of where I am! I am sure there are lessons for me to learn that I will not learn anywhere else..
I trust that GOD has called me here, to this wilderness.. I have purposed in my heart not to resist Him any more, no matter where I am..
I’ll be honest, I don’t like it here!! It doesn’t feel good!! But I know in my ‘knower’ that this is exactly where God wants me.. He intends to reveal more of Christ to me and prepare me for the promise land.  That thought alone makes my spirit leap, despite the harsh, dry, and arid surroundings
My goal is not to look for a way out but to look to Him.. I know that it’s not going to kill me!!  But then again, hopefully it will, in a scriptural sense – my flesh man.  Ultimately, I believe it will make me stronger in Him.. It has to.  My Saviour loves me too much to leave me as I have been
I am looking forward to the spiritual growth and benefits as I stay here a while..
Shalom my friends..
From my heart..
Lots of love..
And as my wise friend always signs out..
Strength and Honour..
 Mary xxxxx

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just another blog on GOD IS IN CONTROL!! Be encouraged!! :-D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i7pNzZJQ5M&feature=player_embedded



God is in control. He is not surprised by the events and He is not unsure how He is going to take care of his children. We are just as safe putting our trust in Him when things are going great as when it looks like everything is falling around us.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:19
Notice the above verse says “ALL.” It doesn’t say “some” or “most,” but it says that He will meet all of our needs. It doesn’t say how He will meet our needs and I have found from experience the way He does it is often not what I expected. But the bottom line is that God is faithful and He does what He promises.


“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7


‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10


For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7


I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8


Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6


Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7


The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. Nahum 1:7


“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Strength of Seeing

The Strength of Seeing

by Chip Brogden
“And when the servant of [Elisha] was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, ‘Alas, my master! How shall we do?’ And he answered, ‘Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them’. And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see’. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:15-17).

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).


We look at the world and we see many things which hinder and distract. We look at the Church and we see many things which disturb us. We look at our own circumstances and become frightened, depressed, and anxious. We see the enemy coming to kill, steal, and destroy. We see angels of light presenting themselves as the servants of the Lord when they are, in fact, messengers of satan. We see many false visions, many false words, many false teachers and teachings. Alas! What can we do about it all?

From our point of view, these things seem like huge issues. It takes a considerable amount of effort to stand against these things. At times it seems we are sinking under the weight of so many burdens and things coming against us. We wonder if perhaps we will be completely swallowed up and overwhelmed by it all. When we look at the facts of the situation it does appear that we are hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded.

HOW SHALL WE OVERCOME?


There is a secret to overcoming, and the secret is seeing. If we can only see, then we will overcome. Living follows seeing. We cannot live as overcomers until we see it. But once we see it, living it becomes natural. Doing follows being.
The problem is not “out there”. The issue is not the great host which has surrounded us. We would like to make that the issue, but the size of the army is irrelevant. I do not have to know what the enemy is doing in your life, because it does not matter. I only have to know what you see. When you look out from where you are, what do you see? If you see correctly, then nothing can defeat you. If you do not see correctly, the tiniest thing will quickly subdue you. The difference between victory and defeat is not in what the devil is doing or the direction this world is going, but in what we see when we look.


Most people look out and see themselves surrounded by an enemy. That is why they live their lives in desperation and fear of what may happen next. They see the devil everywhere they look. They are full of stories about what the devil is doing to them (or what he might be doing). But the overcomers look around them and see something different. They do not see as other people see. That is why they overcome.
To be an overcomer does not mean that we deny the existence of the enemy. We are not going to overcome by pretending we are not really surrounded. Denying the existence of the adversary will not make him disappear. We acknowledge and admit that there is a real enemy, a real spirit of Antichrist, that is out to destroy the Remnant and hinder the Testimony of Jesus. We also acknowledge and admit that more often than not, this spirit of Antichrist seems to get the advantage over us.


Even so, the issue is not the enemy. We may look at the enemy, study him, and build an entire movement around different ways to fight him. We can write books and hold seminars on “spiritual warfare”. But when we look out from the mountain, what do we really see? Here is the difference between those who overcome and those who are defeated: it is not in their ability to fight, but in their ability to SEE, and this seeing is not of themselves, but is of God.


OVERCOMERS HAVE HAD THEIR EYES OPENED



Now Elisha’s servant looks out, sees a great host about to attack them, and cries out, “Alas! How shall we do?” Elisha looks out, sees a great host about to attack them, and says, “Fear not.” What a study of contrasts. Everywhere it seems people are crying, “Alas, alas, what shall we do, where shall we go, what’s to become of us”, etc. etc. Where are the ones who can say, “Fear not”?


I hope you will understand that the problem OUT THERE did not change. Both men faced the same army, both men faced the same circumstance, but one man said, “Alas!” and one man said, “Fear not.”
How is it that two people, looking at the exact same situation, can reach two completely different conclusions? The difference is in what they saw when they looked.


Some people become upset with me because they think I make it sound so “easy”. “But you don’t understand what I’m going through…” Brothers and sisters, maybe no one can understand what you are going through, and you may never understand what I am going through, but that does not matter. What matters is whether or not our eyes are opened. We should not spend time studying the problem when the Solution is right in front of us.


I can offer you nothing more than what Elisha offered, and that is, clarity of vision. “Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” Now the difference is just here: some people have had their eyes opened to see, and some people have not. It is quite easy to tell the difference. The first group is saying, “Alas!” while the second group is saying, “Fear not.” Now that is not a condemnation or a criticism, just a statement of fact. All of us are blind until someone prays, “Lord, open their eyes”. One day we will ALL see, and we look forward to that day when everything is made clear.


What must we do? How long does it take? It is not a question of spiritual growth, maturity, wisdom, or gifting. Elisha’s servant did not gradually begin to see more clearly. He did not study the situation for many months and finally hit upon the truth. No, one moment his eyes were closed, and the next moment they were opened. Either your eyes have been opened or they have not. If they are open then you can pray for the Lord to open the eyes of others. If they are closed, you can pray to have your own eyes opened.
People sometimes ask me what they have to do to obtain this great revelation of Christ. They think it is God’s way of rewarding us for a lot of hard work. Nothing could be further from the truth. To have one’s eyes opened is simply an act of grace, and God alone can do it, and will do it, if we will only ask Him. At the risk of making it sound “too easy”, I dare not make it any more difficult than that!


When the servant’s eyes were opened, he saw what Elisha saw. When Elisha said, “The ones with us are greater than the ones with them” it must have sounded like lunacy. It cannot be understood with words alone: the eyes must be opened. If words were enough then Elisha would not have prayed for the eyes to be opened. We should spend less time trying to understand “words” and more time praying for God to open our eyes. When our eyes are opened, then the words will make sense. Until then, words are like hieroglyphics – we know there is something significant there, but we cannot understand what it means.


Thirty seconds of seeing is worth thirty years of studying and listening to teachers. Five words of revelation are worth more than ten thousand words gathered from flesh-and-blood.
Someone asked me if I know “everything”. The answer is no, but I have seen enough to know what I am talking about. Testimony follows revelation, and the testimony consists of what we have seen and heard, not what we “think” we know, but what we KNOW we know.


It is the illumination of the heart that brings forth the knowing. It’s when we finally “get it” and we can say, “Oh, NOW I see it!” We do not mean, of course, that we actually had a vision, but we mean that what was previously hidden from us has now been made known to us. This is not reserved for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The Holy Spirit leads every disciple into “all truth” (John 16:13,14).
Elisha did not argue with his servant, or try to convince him at all. He just prayed for God to open his eyes. What a relief it is to know that it is not my duty to “defend the faith” or convince everyone of what I know to be true. I can just pray for their eyes to be opened, and God will reveal. It is so much better that way!


THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE


I want us to see that in this particular instance Elisha did not pray for protection. He did not pray for victory. He did not ask God to supply him with an arsenal of weapons. Why not? Because he saw that he was already surrounded by the chariots of fire and the hosts of heaven. When the victory is ours already we do not have to pray for victory. That would be like trying to enter into a room in which we are already sitting. No, if victory is mine then all I need is to have my eyes opened to it. If I have already OBTAINED it, I do not have to ATTAIN it.


How would our lives and our individual testimonies be different if we really saw into the heavenlies? Do you think it would change our words? Do you think it would change our actions? Do you think it would change our thoughts? Do you think it would have an effect on our surroundings?

Do you see yourself seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6)? Paul saw it, and prayed the Ephesians would see it. When the Lord showed me that I was raised together with Christ and was made to sit (past tense) in the heavenly places with Christ, do you think it changed the way I saw the world? Absolutely! No more was I looking at things from “ground level”, but from the heavenly realm. Things look decidedly different when viewed from above.

Elijah saw differently, and so he thought, spoke, and behaved differently. So often we try to adopt a certain way of thinking, speaking, and acting in hopes of becoming victorious. If this is your intention then you are already defeated. If victory lies in something you must do then you will never be able to do enough. “Acting spiritual” does not produce victory, for victory is not what I do or do not do: Victory is Christ.


GREATER IS HE THAT IS WITHIN YOU


We who are the Lord’s Body are told, “Greater is He that is within you, than he that is in the world.” This is practically the same thing Elisha said to his servant: “The ones that be with us are greater than the ones that be with them.”

The situation is the same. The apostle John says a great deal about Antichrist, false doctrines, and false teachers. He sees the Church is surrounded by a great host of wolves who want to gain access to the flock and tear them to pieces. But he also sees what Elisha sees, that is, the One within us is greater than the one in the world.

John declares that no matter what comes against us, the One within us is Greater. It does not matter what you feel like, what you see, what you hear, what people say, or what the devil does. It does not matter if Lazarus is dead for four days and is beginning to stink. It does not matter if the girl dies before Jesus can get there. It does not matter if the waves are about to capsize the boat. It does not matter if Paul is stoned and left for dead. Lazarus will be raised, the girl will be brought back to life, and the storm will be silenced, and Paul will preach again.

The Greater is always Greater, and the Lesser is always Lesser. We only have a problem when see everything else as “greater” and see Christ as “lesser”. Remember, the difference between “Alas!” and “Fear not!” is in having our eyes opened. When you look, what do you see? May the Lord open our eyes to see Him as He is!