The Simplicity of the Gospel

Do you know what I love about the Gospel? It’s profoundly simple, it’s direct, and it’s pure – all rare qualities in today’s modern world

We live in a Spiritual prison, and yet, most of us don’t even realise! We fight for freedom on so many levels, but the war has ultimately been won

So many people think that knowing God means the end of life as they know it because the notion that Jesus came to set us free (John 8:36) is confusing – this world seeks to control, manipulate, and drive fears, but God turns our thinking upside down and inside out

The Gospel was refreshing to me – not because finding Him meant the end, but it was the exact opposite; finding Christ made me realise how simple life can be – I don’t need to strive, I have peace, and joy is in my heart. I understand that fear and worry are futile against my loving Father, but most of all, I know that I am a sinner, and God is not

Therefore, life is about understanding the Father, because when you do, you realise that He truly is love.

He died…out of love

He restores…out of love

He journeys with us…out of love

He gave us the freedom of choice…out of love

Friends, when God says, stop sinning and do what is right. It’s not a demand to make us His prisoners but an invitation to freedom and abundant living

Sin is being outside of God’s will.

So what’s God’s will? To love Him and others – sin takes us outside of that thinking, because ultimately we are either hurting ourselves, others, or worse, God

“And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.” 1 John‬ ‭3:23-24‬

The Angels Roared

Imagine Heaven on the day that Jesus was born…

The angels praised God – a vast number – declaring Luke 2:14. What a sight that would have been

Yet, we need to remember that the angels knew God’s plan, and they had been waiting since the beginning of time for events to take place.

So, the angels did not see a baby in a manger…they saw God…and Heaven’s armies rejoiced because they knew what was to come!

Friends, we need to realise that no matter which side we are on…God’s wonder, His mystery, is in the seen and unseen, it’s in the known and unknown, the certain and uncertain.

We can be in awe at a sunset, unbeknown that there is an artist at hand, but when we realise that it is God who paints the sky, we are in awe on a deeper level

The angels knew, and we did not, yet, the result is the same – God’s glory shines through…

His Glory shines in all circumstances, all directions, all paths, all journeys, all emotions, all of eternal past, present, and future…God is on the throne – this has never changed, other than the fact that we have now been released to be apart of the greatest love story ever seen

Let’s remember that God’s wonder can equally be in the unknown, and the understanding. Yet, how much sweeter is it when you know the whole plan, because it’s not a case of how, but when

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” Luke‬ ‭2:13-14‬

Cry Until The End

Has someone ever said to you, ”Don’t cry,” as your tears are pouring down your face?

I have heard it myself, and even said it to others, but just this week, two people around me have made this statement to someone, and it got me thinking…

Why do we live in a society that feels uncomfortable with emotion? Or, why do we feel ashamed to cry in front of others?

For me, I was told (again), it was a weakness to cry, and so I became known as the ”ice-maiden,” because I would show no emotion. Feelings were dead to me, but my husband, Kieren, struggled that he could see within that my heart was breaking, and yet I would try and keep myself composed, like a true English Gal!

I remember being told by an Aunt that ”we certainly do not air our dirty laundry, ” (because people will know something is wrong) – It took me a long time to ”learn” to cry.

Friends, we have a loving Father who talks about tears, crying, and mourning, a lot within the Bible

I love the imagery of God collecting all of our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), or that he hears our prayers and sees our tears (2 Kings 20:5) – He is present, He is near, and He cares.

I remember, that I breathed a sigh of relief when I became a Christian, because I thought that I would never know hardship again…yet, I learnt (quickly) that pain and suffering still comes my way, I just now realise that I have God by my side to comfort, and listen to my cries

I want to encourage you this morning to not fear emotion.

I get a picture of every tear that falls, waters the ground, to bring life from God’s glory. God draws us near to Him in times of need, to know that we are not alone, but to also realise that He walks with us, step by step.

Remember, we might be within a valley of tears, but God is preparing us for His city of everlasting joy

So, next time you are near to some you care for, and they start to cry, hold them, and weep with them because it’s ok to cry – God’s got them, and He will use those tears, for good

Did I get it wrong?

Have you ever been in a place where God has asked something of you, and you feel a million miles away from how you ”thought” it was going to go?

Imagine Joseph – he was told by an Angel to take Mary as his wife, and to name her unborn child, Jesus – who wasn’t Joseph’s. Then they get called to go to the Census, in Bethlehem, because Joseph is from King David’s lineage, and then, Mary has her baby in a stable, rather than some five-star luxury resort, because after all, Mary is carrying God’s child

If I were Joseph, I would have thought, ”did I get this wrong?” I mean, Joseph must have doubted many times, on the journey, what he ”thought” he heard the Angel say

Yet, we see, time and time again, that when God spoke – Joseph faithfully obeyed, and remained in that circumstance until God spoke again. He trusted God to put one foot in front of the other, which always led his family to a place of safety

Sometimes, faithfulness is simply putting one foot in front of the other, and walking by faith, and not by sight. Declaring that you are trusting God in this unseen process, and watching God’s goodness unfold, even if that is days, months, years…or unseen. Sometimes, we don’t get to know why, or where, or how, but I want to encourage you, that if God spoke to you – whether the audible voice or stillness in your Spirit – and He hasn’t spoken since, remain faithful to that call

Don’t stand still…

Don’t go back to what makes you feel comfortable…

Look towards Heaven, and like Joseph, be obedient to what was asked of you

”At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He travelled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke‬ ‭2:1, 4-7‬

Letting God In

I was raised not to show ”weakness,” and so, I grew up thinking that it was me against the world.

I developed a ”thick skin”, and wore an invisible ”mask” so that, no matter what came my way, and no matter how much my circumstances were hurting me – I wanted the world to think I was a warrior. Yet, at night, alone, I would cry myself to sleep, fearful of what lay ahead, and tired of the constant pain. I felt drained…tired of the sunrise and sunset.

Fast forward to when I met God, and my mind was blown to the possibility of the Creator of the universe wanting a relationship with me, but also I instantly went into performance mode. I would rehearse my prayers out loud (before I spoke them to God) and I would even think that this new relationship was based on me ticking off some Child-of-God-checklist. Therefore, I spent years thinking that, again, I wasn’t good enough; only now, I assumed I was going to hell because I kept ”failing.”

Imagine a house – I had created the perfect lounge for God to come and sit with me, but He was never allowed past the dining room because I could no longer hide the mess of the kitchen, the bathrooms, or the bedrooms. Nope, He was forbidden. I thought that God couldn’t see my mess if I only just kept my lounge tidy and my mask on.

It took me years to let God into my life. Before then, I kept Him at a distance because I assumed that from afar, He wouldn’t see the real me. God wouldn’t know my most inner thoughts, and so, He couldn’t see the failure I indeed was.

I didn’t know that God was omnipresent or omniscient because Christianity was new to me. I didn’t know that God loved me without conditions, without merit, or competition. I struggled that it was no longer, you against I to fight for affection – it’s you and I, equally loved, cherished, and restored, by God.

Friends, you may have spent a lifetime – so far – striving for God’s affection. You may think that you are all alone. You may think that you will never be enough. Or that you can only let Him into the entrance way…

I’m here to tell you that when I tore down the lies I had believed about God, it allowed Him to heal me from the inside out. But from this, I realised that when I voluntarily let God into my circumstances – things changed, miracles happened, peace came, and joy entered my heart, because in a world of impossibility, lies God, and He literally died so that you could find Him once more. There is nothing, within His will, that He won’t do for you

”I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” Job‬ ‭42:2‬

In a World of Fatherlessness

This topic is what I believe keeps the world broken.

Fatherlessness throughout the globe is such an epidemic that the world struggles with its brokenness, daily.

Fatherlessness sees so much pain, heartache, and suffering within so many statistics across the board, that these numbers are quite frankly, killing souls.

If you had a father who was kind and loving, remember to thank God for him, because for most people, this is not the case.

For me, my father was physically there, but on all other levels, he was absent from my life. I grew up craving that approval, to be seen, to receive the attention and acceptance that I so desperately searched for. So much so that my Daddy-issues were apparent in my life until only three years ago. For nearly 35 years, up until that point, I had seen myself as worthless – always desiring the affirmation of my heart. This led to the decisions that affected my life in ways I don’t think I have still quite comprehended.

It was in finding God’s love that enabled me to accept the love of my biological father, yet, to receive the Father’s love took me over a decade to find.

We are too quick to make judgements on others from our place of brokenness, and yet, let’s be honest, this issue of fatherlessness didn’t just start with our generation, or even the one before that – people have been craving the Father’s love, since Cain and Abel.

Friends, I said that it took me over a decade to truly find God’s love, but in doing so, it transformed my relationship with my dad. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but, I have learnt to love him for who he is, not what I needed him to be.

I now accept my dad’s flaws because we are all beautifully imperfect. I let go of the expectations that my earthly father couldn’t give me and turned to the only Father who could.

Yet, in doing so, there was no more pressure for my dad to perform, to try and become who, I thought, he was meant to be. My ashes became a crown of beauty when I let go of the hurt and pain of fatherlessness, because I realised that I had a heavenly Father, who had been there all along. God’s love had been there all along – I was just looking in the wrong place, and blaming everyone else in the process

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalms‬ ‭27:10‬

Going Deeper

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. I love the coziness of being by the fire, with a blanket and a good book, or movie. I also love the invitation to “wrap up warm,” when I am about to brace myself to go outside. But, I hate feeling the cold – especially when the cold gets “in your bones”, and it takes you an hour to thaw out!

Winter always makes me think of the season we can face. The sparseness, the lack, the “God, where are you? moments” – but it is in these times that I have looked back and realised that I now look forward to this season. Not in a cruel way, but it is a time to go to God in complete surrender, a time to dig into the word, because when we draw closer to God – that is where our strength ultimately comes from.

I have found that when I go deeper, it is in the profound intimacy that I find peace, love, grace, and mercy. My soul is renewed and replenished. I can then find the Holy Spirit’s power to go beyond the human mindset, and tackle wherever life takes me

Friends, it is going deeper that we can go higher. If you think of a seed, it has to create a great root system to grow into a tree. A sky-rise must have a strong foundation to hold the building itself. We must seek God, spend time with Him and His Word to grow into whom we have been called to be.

Go deeper with God.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, because God is waiting for a chance, where you can breathe, as he restores your soul. An opportunity that you will then soar as high as an eagle – just as you were created to be

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭

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