your scars bring you closer to God

We all carry scars with us. But do we remember the pain, or have we received Gods great unconditional love.

Whatever you’ve been through, God carries you.

We need to see our scars through a new light. The invisible scars of our painful experiences don’t exclude us from receiving God’s love – his grace is sufficient – our scars can draw us closer to Jesus, who has the scars of the cross on his hands and feet.

Scars qualify you – they don’t disqualify you from God and his work in the world. We see this in the bible stories of Moses, David, Jacob, Hannah, etc.’

Psalm 34:18 tells us ‘the lord is close to the broken hearted and those with crushed spirits’

We have to know difference between wounds (that still need healing) and scars (that are already healed) and invite Jesus in time heal and restore our lives.

Scars remind you of whose you are – in John 20 Jesus shows his scars to the disciples – he is reminding them that he was wounded for their salvation. Jesus scars remind us he is God who died to save and restore us.

Have you been broken or wounded by the world? God is very close to you. His heart of love is wide open to you – receive his love today. Pray to him and listen for his voice. Stop and wait for his healing presence. He is close to the broken hearted and those who have been crushed in the world.

A voice in the darkness

Ever felt like you are stuck in a dark place? Then this post is written just for you….

Gods first words in the human story were words spoke in the darkness – words from the darkness. Spoken by God. Spoken to breathe life into the darkness.

Out of the darkness these words were uttered:

“Let… there… be… light!”

And there was light. The first light in the universe came from the voice of God in the darkness. Gods first breathe in the universe created light.

This was the beginning. The first beginning. The first of many beginnings. This is the work of God in our lives. God enters into the darkness, unperturbed or disturbed, to bring light, growth, love, joy, peace that surpasses understanding, and all other manner of blessings as he wills.

Whenever God wants us to grow he leads us into the darkness where we are led by the spirit into the place of deepening faith and holy trust. And into our darkness He speaks ever so gently… let there be light, and Christ enters our darkness. He walks in it with us to lead us through the dark wilderness into his promised land for our lives.

Where there is darkness today God is already at work. New life will spring up at the sound of his gentle voice. Do not listen for a booming voice in the darkness. Look for the still small voice of the Spirit speaking and breathing the new life of God. God is speaking light into your darkness.

Can we have Certain faith in an uncertain world?

How can we ever know that the Gospel of Jesus and the words of the bible are really true? I mean, they were written thousands of years ago in a culture that is so different from ours – no phones, no bank accounts, no McDonalds! It was orally passed down before it was written down! How can we believe that today?!

I hear this a lot. It doesn’t surprise me any more. There’s no simple answer except to say that faith is both simple, yet difficult. It’s hard to believe facts that you can’t verify easily (unless you have a time machine, which so far we don’t Dr!).

It’s hard to believe when you have not yet experienced the power and presence of the Gospel in true encounter with God.

As a Church we need to be encountering God more than we do. We should be seeking to meet with God daily. Our experience and our bible understanding need to come together to infuse into faith that is solid and certain. The Bible claims we can have certainty of what we have been taught, and we place our faith/trust in those teachings. This does not mean there is no doubt – Thomas was not removed from Jesus for doubting – in fact he was blessed as a result of it. Perhaps doubt is part of the strengthening process of faith?

In the Gospel written by Luke he writes the book to show the stories surrounding the life and work of Jesus in order that…

…you might know the CERTAINTY of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:3-4).

Our faith can be certain and steadfast. We can know the certainty of what we believe. Remember, there can still be some doubt – faith is not the removal of doubt: it is trusting God in the midst of it. In the aftermath of Christmas we have opportunities to share our faith with friends and family – it’s a time of year when discussions about Jesus are in the social consciousness.

I pray that we will take these opportunities to share our faith with confidence in the Gospel, understanding of the truth, and sensitivity to those we are sharing with.

God is big enough…

Have you ever faced a circumstance of life that has proven to be rather difficult? Life is like that sometimes:

Sometimes we find ourselves in a ‘circumstance’.

Sometimes things just don’t work out.

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The natural thing to do in such times is to attack or retreat:

We lash out at those who are hurting us. We fight. We shout and scream. Although it’s often our first response, we find that this hurts us more than it hurts those we aim to attack. Hatred and attack never do you any good. They only make matters worse.

We might be inclined to retreat. We run away. We want to hide. This also hurts us more than those who place us in a circumstance. It hurts us because we find ourselves running away from the opportunity to grow.

We grow by handling the circumstance circumspectly.

We grow by looking at our own part in the formation of the circumstance.

We grow by trusting God IN the circumstance rather than apart from it.

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Where there is a dark cloud on the horizon there is the still small voice of God calling out to you.

Where there is a goliath taunting you, there is God preparing a ‘David’ within you to handle it God’s way.

Where there is hatred and hurt there is the love of God that covers a multitude of sins.

Where there is the desire to run away there is the presence of God in which to healthily hide away. This is temporal, and from this place we come out stronger in God’s love, grace and mercy to handle our storms.

Jesus is not just for the good times you face – he’s there for you in the hard times too. He really is.

Psalm 91 reminds us that it is in the very presence of God that we find strength and protection. God is big enough to handle every circumstance you have ever, or will ever face. He is your strength and your refuge. He is your strong tower. His great promises are your strength and your protection (Psalm 91:4).

Whatever your circumstances today, may you know the reality that God is big enough to bring you through.

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Rediscover Wonder with Rob Bell and walk upon the Oceans

I was speaking with a friend on the phone today and he asks how I’m doing. I answer with the usual cliches and responses and then I stop. I stop and say “I’m struggling to hear God these days – I have for a while”. And I don’t expect my friend to judge me and tell me I just need to pray about it because Ellis is one of the few people I know that I am totally real with and who never feeds me cliched responses to issues I face. So he listens as I spout verbal vomit and when there’s nothing left I have this realisation that God has actually been quietly ministering and whispering all along.

One of the voices I’ve been listening to recently is that of Rob Bell. Now I know that there are some out there who will judge me just for mentioning his name but that’s okay because God loves you and me and Rob Bell (God’s love is a great leveler of people, don’t you think?).

Bell has awakened within me a desire for a simpler, less orchestrated faith over a demanding ritualistic performance driven faith. I’m enjoying the way he weaves scripture into the colourful fabric of life. I want to look again at the world with child-like wonder and create at the feet of Father God – isn’t that what God made us for? – to go out and multiply the wonders of creation through expressing the gifts, intellect and love he placed within us.

Here’s some ‘classic Bell’ to let you see how he has encouraged me recently:

Another way I realised God has been whispering to me is through a song by Hillsong United. It’s called “Oceans” and the video is at the end of this article. The song is based on the tale of Jesus calling Peter out to walk on storm-ridden waters.

There was a storm.

Waves crashed.

Wind blew.

But Jesus was out there walking on water, calling Peter out.

I realised God was calling me out.

He was working in the stress of my current job insecurity, my hectic family life, recent hurts at the hands of spiritual leaders, and my tiredness as I study a Masters degree.

He was saying “it’s okay. The storm is here, but so am I and I’m simply calling you to trust me as you are on stormy waters. Walk to me and walk with me in these troubled seas. I’m with you and I won’t let you drown”.

God knows what we need when we need it and he walks with us even when the storms crash down upon our troubled heads. He delivers, rescues and restores.

I’m thankful today for Rob Bell, Hillsongs United for a cool song, and my mate Dave for allowing me to be who I am and to vent. Ellis’s website is at Bittorrent Gospel and he is worth following on Twitter at @littlewarrior. How about you? Perhaps the storm is fierce? I can’t promise answers, but somewhere out there Jesus is out on the water calling your name.

May we hear and respond to Jesus’ great love, amazing grace and boundless mercy as we seek to rediscover wonder and walk upon the oceans.