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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Easter 2017: Resurrection & Trust.

For me there is no Easter without Jesus' resurrection and furthermore there is no faith without complete trust.

I have been thinking about the importance of the resurrection and trust with Easter approaching. I am contemplating the truth of Easter holding no relevance for many when they don't understand or trust in The Resurrection.

You see, truly without Jesus' resurrection from death, we have no hope. We have no hope in anything after this life. So, we may as well continue to celebrate Easter in the pagan tradition of eating lots of 'fertile promoting' chocolate...You know, eat, drink and be merry because we're all just going to die anyway...

The Sadducees (a group of Jewish religious zealots in Jesus' time) tried to deny resurrection was a part of God's plan. They believed that this life was as good as it gets, and could not see God had a salvation solution. They tried to stump Jesus by asking an obviously preposterous question, regarding how marriage after multiple spouses would work after people are resurrected. Jesus simply told them they did not understand the scriptures or God's power...

Jesus never denied the resurrection. While many believe this is because we all will go to heaven, Jesus spoke of a resurrection consistent with the Bible. A resurrection of ALL PEOPLE for final judgement...A resurrection where we will pass into eternal joy or condemnation.

Now this may sound scary to you. And I will truthfully tell you, if we really understand that we can never measure up to God's holy standards, we may well panic. I really think this is why deep down, many people today struggle with anxiety...I believe they're stuck in their rebellion and sin from trying to live life without being forgiven and committed to Jesus, and when they're not distracted by life, their anxiety begins. I honestly can write this because I have personally experienced it, and know many who struggle the same way.

The good news however is, the anxiety can be replaced by God's peace when we confess our sin and need to God, and accept His gift of forgiveness and new-life through Jesus Christ! You see faith or a belief, that Jesus is the Messiah, or God's Saviour/Christ is still incomplete, unless we understand that faith requires the active-action of fully trusting in Jesus' death and resurrection being imparted to us. This happens when we repent and make the decision to give our life to Jesus Christ.

I have been thinking about how fully trusting God (whom Jesus is) is possibly the hardest thing for most people...

TRUST is really hard. I mean people may fully believe in Jesus. They may fully believe in His resurrection from death. But do they TRUST in it becoming their own???

I have been faced with the decision of late to trust or to not trust – and this has just in my own personal life, and truly it's hard, and it has me thinking...

We want the answer to everything we not? Yet if we understood everything it wouldn't it be hard to trust would it? Yes it would not be hard as trusting would require no faith, for faith is believing and trusting even when we don't see some parts or know some details.

Many people may say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus!” But do they really TRUST Him? Do they trust that His death and resurrection can be theirs? Do they trust that His death, (the loss of His life) can be the death their sins would have inherited and therefore His resurrection due to their sin being gone would also be theirs?

Do they TRUST in Him to be their Saviour – fully trusting that through Him they pass through final judgement, from death to life, because of His death and resurrection becoming theirs?

Do they TRUST Him for imparted wisdom from His Word, the Bible when the world says differently?

Do they TRUST Him to do a good work within them and to change their life when they surrender all to Him?

Do they TRUST Him to help them fight their sinful nature daily and to confess their sin when they stumble?

Do they still TRUST Him when they find themselves confused and hurt?

There is no Christian faith, or celebration at Easter without the resurrection and there is no Christian faith without complete trust in the final work of Jesus Christ; that being His death and resurrection being imparted to His followers.

TRUST is hard. But when I look in the mirror really honestly, or when I stop being angry and look at myself, I know I fall so short. I know I'm so limited and am so glad I can TRUST The One who always makes the right judgement, and has given me so much.

So I continue to believe and fully trust in Jesus' death and resurrection...

I pray you daily do too, love Melanie.

Let me leave you with "Jesus Paid It All" Being performed here by Newsboys.
"Oh praise The One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!"

Monday, 3 April 2017

To The Ends of The Earth...

Jesus told us we are to go out into all the world and proclaim the gospel of salvation to all people. With Him living inside of us, we as His children, are to go to the ends of the earth...

When we give up ourselves, handing our lives over to Him, He gives us a new heart and a new desire. This new heart is one which desires to live according to His will, and to live a life that serves Him because of the love we receive. We are transformed from autonomous, self focused people, into new creations who take love out into the world by His enabling power, and therefore fulfilling this great and wonderful commission.

But sometimes the world pulls us down...

Yes, pulls us down, for we are still in our mortal bodies while we await His return and we get tired and overwhelmed and confused...sometimes it seems this great commission must only be for the Super-Spiritual or the super-gifted missionaries...I think we believe we don't have the resources to fulfill this great commission. I think it's easy to look at what we have, or where we are, and only see what is lacking...

So I want to ask a question and it's a question for me, as much as it is for you.

What if we took the 'macro' perspective and drew it in more closely to contemplate what “the ends of the earth” may mean for us 'everyday' people? What if “the ends of the the earth” was not even our country or state or neighbourhood...What if we began to look at this great commission from a 'micro' perspective?

What if 'the ends of the earth' was our own home...Seriously...and if you think I'm crazy answer me this...Do you live anywhere near where Jesus spoke these words?

I want to be really honest, sometimes I think really 'macro or big' when it comes to this commission, and while there's nothing wrong with dreaming big, sometimes I just end up feeling discouraged.

I have always believed that my first mission or ministry is my own home.

I have had stirring on my heart of late, the desire to encourage others to simply act upon the 'micro' thoughts they have upon their heart for the Kingdom of God. To commit these thoughts and plans to Jesus, then step forth in faith and act upon them. Furthermore, to keep doing this faithfully and watching for what God will do with these acts-of-love.

I'm not saying God won't do big and amazing things through you or me...but I do think it's a scriptural principle that God entrusts more to us as we journey along, being faithful at first with the little...

We are called to be humble and self-giving just as Christ has demonstrated. Sadly when we forget about our own family this is the opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus began 'micro'. Jesus' first miracle was in the presence of His own family at the Wedding of Cana. Jesus began His ministry work by proclaiming to His own family, neighbourhood, and the Jewish people.

The Church needs to spread organically and grow disciples to live peaceful lives ministering to their own family first and community second (see 1 Thessalonians chapter 4;  1 Timothy chapter 2-3; Romans chapters 12-13.)

I was really encouraged today with a reading from 'The Word for Today', By Bob and Debbie Gass called, “Use what God has given you”. This reading spoke about the woman anointing Jesus with the costly ointment of nard...she did not hesitate to use what she had in worship of Jesus and Jesus said what she had done would be remembered wherever the gospel is proclaimed and indeed it is! This woman loved Jesus with what she had, where she was, in her own neighbourhood!

How are we worshiping Jesus with what we have, and where we are? What example are we giving our own families and then communities?

Sometimes I honestly think, what can I do? I am just an ordinary Aussie woman with limited resources and talents...But when I look for the 'micro' I see so much more...

I see a woman who is blessed to have children to love and show Jesus' love to. A woman, who by gender alone is therefore often trusted by other women. I see my functioning hands which can adeptly cook and clean to serve others. I see my laptop, instantly connected to the world at the press of a button by which I can then use to encourage others...hence this blog!

I really want to encourage you today to look more 'micro' at what is around see that God has brought 'the ends of the earth' to your own doorstep in so many ways and to act upon the 'micro thoughts' you have for His Kingdom and glory. To stop waiting for what you think is necessary and to simply do...

Let's all be more like the woman who anointed Jesus with the nard...Let's use right now what we have, right where we are in worship of Jesus, so that others may know what an awesome God we love and obey!

In love and service to Him, Melanie.

Sunday, 26 March 2017


When I entered my wilderness season, The Lord led me to read Jeremiah 29:11; “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Perhaps it's a little strange given it's such a well known verse of scripture, but I really don't think I knew the verse at the time, even though I had been a Christian for around seven years. What I do know however, is that the timing of reading this verse was perfect, and even though I was suffering, I knew I was not abandoned. I knew He was with me, even when it seemed no one else was.

Soon later and over my years of singleness, when I felt so alone and weary, He continued to give me promises. Verses of being rebuilt and refreshed; I knew there would come a time when I would be a joyful bride. I knew that He knew how I felt, and that He would provide for my children and I a godly man to be the head of our family...even when I could see no suitable ones for us around. Sometimes it was difficult to hold onto His promises when I looked around and most everything I saw was still barren, but I held onto the hope of everything being able to change in one day with The Lord...I knew nothing was impossible for God!

“Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.” Jeremiah 31:4

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you...” Joel 2: 25a;26a.

Psalm 68:5-6 says, “Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.”

God is such a good Father. He loves us, His children,
more than we can comprehend.

I believe, without a doubt, that even during difficult times He is working things out for our best interest. For we know from scripture that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and nothing can stand in the way of His will for those He loves.

There were times when I cried, feeling like the world had made me a widow. Rejection and loneliness at times seemed to be a taunt, and there were times when I was quite weary. Yet it was in the wilderness The Lord ministered to me in a way I had not experienced before. Just like Hosea says, “Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”

The Lord provided for me and my boys, time and time again in both a super-natural and very personal way and it was more than enough, so much so that there were times when I wondered if I really needed a human husband...yet the desire for one remained. But most importantly it was the desire for His planned man for the boys and me I desired most, as I knew that making the wrong choice with this matter was not a part of His plan for us.

There were times when I'd see the happy faces of people going home as families together with their loved ones after church, and I'd wonder, “How long?” But psalm 68: 5-6 not only says He cares for the widow, it also says He gives the desolate a home to live in...another translation uses the word 'lonely'.

I know what it's like to be lonely for a complete family. I loved my boys but struggled with a piece of my heart being empty and a part of my family missing. I knew we needed a Christian husband, I just didn't know who he was or where I'd find him, so I waited...and prayed...and waited and prayed...

I know The Lord is good and truly does want to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. I encourage you today, with whatever you're hurt is to be patient.

Keep prayerful and hopeful. Don't rush into anything.

Be wise about all matters of the heart. As children of the One most high, trust Him with your precious heart for that is exercising true faith.

Become strong in times of weakness by prayer and reading the Bible. Remember being patient in times of suffering produces endurance and godly character, if we let it...

God does restore, so keep prayerful. Be strong in The Word and do not lose hope in the One who never fails!

Love Melanie.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Haters Gonna Hate...

Do you know what it's like to feel feel anything other than beloved by others, especially as a proud Christian?

Do you know what it's like to have your outreach and love to be met with a smile, yet only to be mocked later behind your back...which of course you know about, as the mockery made its way back to you?

I think you would know, as sadly it's not uncommon and it seems today, social media is amplifying gossiping and bullying amongst not just teens, adults too! I personally know what it's like to feel the hurt of people 'unfriending' me on social media, or to have people write about me on their own, or other people's walls behind my back. I know what it's like to have my happy posts ignored and gossiped about...yeah, sadly I do know.

At times when this has happened, I've tried my best to do what Taylor Swift's lyrics encourage. I try to keep 'cruising'...walking on and 'shaking' off the negativity. I think things perhaps as we all do like, "Maybe they're jealous"...and so on. I think "Well, haters are simply gonna hate"...

"But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop moving. It's like I got this music in my mind, saying it's gonna be alright!Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate...Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. I shake it off, I shake it off. Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, breakAnd the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fakeBaby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. I shake it off, I shake it off..." (Taylor Swift, 2014)

But just like the worldly, sexualised booty-shaking, in the accompanying film-clip to this Taylor Swift song, I find the advice to 'shake it off' a worldly substitute for what I truly need. A temporary fix, lacking what I need to really have an internal shift and for my well-being to be restored. I actually find thinking, “Well haters are simply gonna hate”, only a superficial, self-centred thought...One that only serves to elevate myself above the person who has hurt me.

It's ONLY when I begin to meditate upon Jesus and worship Him that any permanent, internal shift happens.

You see, it's like when a person is genuinely thirsty and drinks from a can of sweet soda. Their thirst is only quenched temporarily and their body is left in need of true, clean hydration. It's like as the bible says, people choose to drink from cracked, man-made cisterns, rather than the clean, good wellspring of life, Jesus Christ. To have our strength and well-being renewed we need to have our wounds healed by Jesus...This is what keeps my ministry on social media going. It's not from simply shaking it off by focusing upon my own strengths.

There are even times when I can find myself feeling stressed and overwhelmed, from my own self. Sometimes I can even be my own worst enemy. Sometimes it can be hard to 'shake off' my own negativity as I don't even know why I'm feeling a certain way. Sometimes the only 'hater' as Taylor Swift puts it, is myself. Do you know what I mean?

Again, it's ONLY when I begin to meditate upon Jesus and worship Him that any permanent, internal shift happens.

I haven't written a post in a while as I've been busy with Richard preparing for our wedding in June. Without realising what was happening, I had begun to feel stressed and pressured, with so many worldly thoughts running through my head. It wasn't until I took time out in worship that a real shift happened.

Through simple, private, heart-felt worship I was able to gain clarity as to where my thoughts had been, and therefore why I had been thinking the way I had been. Then through focusing upon the eternal, unchanging truth of Jesus in worship my focus changed from me to Him, and The Lord was able to minister to me and renew my strength. I felt The joy of The Lord return with a fresh, clear godly perspective.

Let me encourage you. When haters hate you, as they will, or you find yourself tired and stressed, possibly 'hating' upon yourself...Worship. When your perspective becomes worldly; as in fixated upon those against you, or even focused upon yourself...Worship...Irrespective of how you feel!

I have honestly found, it's ONLY when I begin to meditate upon Jesus and worship Him that any permanent, internal shift happens...every thing else is a temporary fix, lacking what I really need.

Let me leave you with a song that helped me recently to worship Jesus and gain much needed clarity and strength, love Melanie.

Monday, 27 February 2017

It is RIGHT to give our thanks & Praise:

One of the liturgical responses in the Anglican tradition of worship is, “It is RIGHT to give our thanks and praise”.

What I so love about this response is threefold: It can be said regardless of one’s emotions at the time because it is TRUTH that praise and thanks is always the right response; It is SIMPLE as it moves our focus from self to the eternally, unchanging One; Yet POWERFUL as we can then escape our present state and move into a peaceful, eternity-focused one.

As I was driving to work this morning I saw a dead, unidentifiable, animal carcass on the side of the road. My heart became heavy as I drove through what is such beautiful country-side, thinking of what a wonderful gift this land is from God, but also of how this place is also one where many are spiritually dead, or are dying from their continued rebellion…I began to grieve over the hardness of heart and of the desire to be self-sufficient…Over inter-generational brokenness so blatantly in the face of people, while they still cry out, “No God! I don’t want or need You!”

It was then I made a conscious decision to praise my God regardless…

I began to meditate as I drove on Him.

Upon Him who is LOVE.

Upon Him who is unchanging.

Upon Him who set ME apart and made me His Own, long before I did anything to serve Him.

Upon Him who saw me inside my mother’s whom and still chose to save me, even knowing all the rebellion and sin I would commit.

Upon Him who saw me, just as He sees all, lost and in desperate need.

Upon Him who is the beginning and the end, seeing so much more than I.

It was a split-second decision but one that was RIGHT…I began to sing thanks and praise to Him, praying for Him to make a way in this place and meditating upon His faithfulness as I drove. These are the lyrics that came and I simply sang over and over and over:

I want to praise you, with all of my heart,
I want to praise you, for I’ve been set apart,
You are mine, You’ve made me Your own,
Abba, Father on Your throne, I want to praise You.

You see, I know I don’t have the answers. I am NOT the saviour and my vision is limited. But what I do know is that I am His daughter, He is with me, and it is always RIGHT to give my thanks and praise.

I believe with all of my heart and mind that thanks and praise is POWERFUL. That prayer and praise invites our Father into the lives of others we interact with. I believe prayer and praise is the catalyst for Christians bearing fruit because it is RELATIONAL and it is the relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins and spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ that we must offer. 

May we never forget that is RIGHT to give our thanks and praise and to practice it.

Love Melanie.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Your LOVE Never Fails:

Valentine's Day 2016:
Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me...
Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me!
(Lyrics by Jesus Culture).

Valentine's Day has rolled around once again, and for many it's a day best slept away. You see, for most people it's not romance, chocolate and flowers they desire; it's the committed love from a spouse they crave for validation.

It's hard being single in what feels like a world of couples...I know, from experience. This year is actually the first for me here on the blog where I have a 'valentine'...yet I appreciate my years of singleness which I haven't forgotten.

I know what it's like to desire a partner.

When I was single I knew that I had a choice. I could choose to be happy for others and content while waiting myself...or I could be like many others and settle for the wrong person. I admit my discernment was not always accurate and I made some mistakes along the way...but thank The Lord, I did learn from them!

I remember The Lord saying to me, 'Let go...Do you trust me? Let go', when I was clinging to something which was not His will for me and I knew, even as a Christian, I still had a choice to obey or not. So whenever something got too close which wasn't right for me, I knew I needed to let go...I got better and better at this with each success I had.

Yes, relationships or the desire for one can be an idol.

Each time I chose Jesus over a wrong relationship I could have possibly entered into I became stronger in Him, and better at hearing His voice...But I won't lie, it also hurt. I'd feel disappointed and lonely. It was then I'd push into Him and remember His LOVE never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me, and that there was nothing that could compare to His plan and will for my life.

His will was definitely worth waiting for.

When I announced my new relationship on social media there were some people who did not take the news so well and 'unfriended' me...I understood however, as it can be difficult for some to celebrate with someone else.

For those of you who may be waiting, I know it is hard!

Continue pressing into Jesus, and strengthen your Number One relationship so that you'll be a better person. Don't settle for being unyoked, or even for a Christian who treats you poorly.

It's natural for someone to desire committed love from a spouse, but it shouldn't be for validation.

Our value and worth should come from being a child of God through Jesus Christ. The desire for committed love from a spouse should be so that we can love them back as God does, everyday of our life within marriage. If you've had many failed relationships, I pray you know His love that never fails, never gives up and never runs out!

Love, Melanie.

Let me leave you with Jesus Culture:

Sunday, 5 February 2017

I Have Waited.

I have waited all my life for you,
Yes, I have waited all my life for you.
To come along, to come along and make me feel the way you do...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

When you hold me in your arms the way that you do,
And kiss my head so soft, the way that you do.
I'm filled with peace, I'm filled with peace from the love you give me...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

Everyday I spend with you my love,
Each moment, I spend with you my love.
I see more, I see more of your heart that cares for me...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

I have placed my heart into your hands,
Yes, I have placed my heart into your hands.
For I trust you, I trust you and no longer do I walk alone....
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

Joy has come into my life afresh again,
Yes, joy has come into my life afresh again.
I praise God, I praise God, for His love that you bring me...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

Our two hearts now beat as one my love,
Yes, our love indeed is strong my love.
No better match, no better match, for me could I comprehend...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

You are a promise God once gave to me,
A promise come to life, in perfect timing.
New life springs, new life springs, a family whole in Christ we are...
Oh I, I have waited, I have waited for you.

All my love to you Richard, yours in Christ, Melanie.

Monday, 30 January 2017

A Bruised Reed...

Imagine if you will, a perfect flower arrangement with one bruised and wilted stem, languishing among a vase full of strong, upright, beautiful blooms. Your hand reaches out to remove the almost broken, ugly one but then you hear Jesus say, “A bruised reed I will not break”.

What will you do? It's surely quicker and easier to throw it out, but let's say you want to obey. If you're anything like me, you'll probably quickly maneuver it behind another stem for support, slightly frustrated the bloom has wilted in the first place so quickly! I mean who likes inconvenience?

Real love is costly and inconvenient.

Okay, so let's say you quickly moved it behind another stem but then it again wilts down, just now from behind...The quick-fix and support of another stem did not work...Tempted once again to throw the stem out you hear Jesus again say, “A bruised reed I will not break”.

The real solution will be to attend to the stem's needs rather than a quick prop-up. The stem will need to be trimmed, placed within the center of the vase surrounded by many others, and have clean, fresh water supplied.

Real love is costly and inconvenient. It is patient, requiring grace and time.
I honestly don't like to be inconvenienced. I don't like being patient, facing frustrations, or praying for others who may have hurt me. It's much easier to cut people off. But Jesus' love compels me, for Jesus said, “A bruised reed I will not break” (Isaiah 42: 1-20).

Jesus said of the woman anointing His feet with her tears, that she loved so much because she had been forgiven of so much...Real love is costly and inconvenient. This display of love for Jesus was an outrageous, scandalous proclamation of devotion. It makes me ponder, how much do we give? How much do we let our faith inconvenience us? How outrageous and loud are we about grace and salvation?

Jesus said to those ready to throw the first stone and kill the woman caught in the very act of adultery, to only throw if they had no sin. We know from scripture they all put down their stones and walked away...

A bruised reed He will not break.

How often do we remember how much we have been forgiven of by Jesus? How quick are we to become like those who failed to see their own need before condemning others? How quick are we to let offenses cause division, and to let fears rob us of reaching out in love to the marginalised, or others of a different faith?

Jesus said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Are we merciful? Are we peacemakers? Do we have pure motives? Do we let His love inconvenience and cost us? Do we pray for those who hurt or persecute us? Are we willing to call someone and make the first move for reconciliation whenever possible?

I was reminded recently that Jesus said, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7: 1-2).

May we remember each day, the mercy, forgiveness and grace we have been shown, and of our Father's gentleness and heart for others. For truly, a bruised reed He will not break.

May we rant less and share more in gentleness and through inconvenient love! Melanie.

Let me leave you with Casting Crowns, 'If we are the body'.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Be Thou My Vision.

With a somewhat heavy heart today I sat alone, and played and sang the old hymn, 'Be Thou My Vision'. While the version I played is a modern arrangement I have written myself, the main lyrics remained unchanged.

I played and sang unto my Lord, as a release from the heartache I felt and feel from hearing of mass massacres not only upon my own doorstep of Melbourne, but also in America, and of the tens of thousands of women marching in support of killing their own children within their wombs.

I took time and silently mourned our Western world's loss, of true sacrificial love and commitment. I took time to feel my heart break. Not only for the innocent children lost before they have a chance to make their own choices, but also for the ones born into families who are so self-focused and entitled they will grow without the skills to function as mentally-healthy adults.

Yes, I took time and allowed myself to feel the hurt, loss, and rejection our blessed creator must feel, but I also gave my heart to Him for healing as I sang.

I knew once again, as other times before that I had a choice. I needed to choose again what my focus would be, so that once again I could arise strengthened for the year of work approaching, as school returns here in Australia very shortly after our summer break.

Sometimes in difficult times we choose to focus on the life that is to come when Jesus returns, or upon the promises and riches we may inherit. And while this is not negative, I find this is not grounded enough upon the life and commission we are to fulfill here and now...

As I meditated upon the lyrics, 'Be Thou My Vision', my thoughts again turned to Jesus being my vision and focus for my work, here and now!

I found myself thinking about how Jesus would respond and the answer was overwhelmingly simple, with love and grace to all who may offend and hurt me.

Jesus said others will know we are His disciples from our LOVE!

It is His LOVE that brings breakthrough.

It is His LOVE conquers all.

It is His LOVE that forgives, heals, and transforms.

The truth is I can do nothing without Him. There is no real, permanent change in anyone's life and therefore our world without Him. I need to let Him and His LOVE work through me, and keep dying to myself and offenses, or else they will consume me.

So what does His LOVE look like shining out through me?

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Am I patient? Am I kind and not rude, irrespective of whether I'm behind a computer screen or not? Do I rejoice with others and the truth? Am I committed to my relationships and hope in God, standing upon His Word? Will I endure all heartache as a victor in Christ, and therefore forgive and pray for others?

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I have often turned to the Psalms in times of need for encouragement, but I also love the truth and theology of old hymns. I find they speak so honesty of our Lord's greatness, and our constant need for Him. They take the singer's focus off of themselves, and proclaim the unchanging truth of our sovereign Lord, making them appropriate to sing in both times of joy and struggle.

I have chosen to again let Jesus be my vision, when so many dark things are vying to cloud my sight. I am choosing to pray rather than rant. To proclaim, even if others do not want to listen. And to faithfully love the ones He has placed in my life. Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart...

Love Melanie.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Ephesians: Discipleship and Armour For Our Families.

I have known since being born-again, that I have not only become a child of God, I have been called along with every other believer to proclaim The Name of Jesus, so others may hear the message of salvation.

There is no way one can read the Bible as a believer and not hear this call.

Furthermore there is no way one can truly believe and love Jesus without responding to this call.

It's true we will respond as individuals to the great commission depending on our giftings, but I honestly believe our individual service is not the crux of the call...We have unity as the body of Christ by His Spirit and there is only one ultimate call and appropriate response.

I think sometimes we can get so wrapped up in ourselves and our individual calling or ministry that we forget the heart of God and what follows the call of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth...TO MAKE DISCIPLES.

The heart of God is for relationship. Restored Relationship with Himself and others.

Spreading the Gospel is proclamation that THE WAY has been made by God for us to be forgiven, and to come into a loving relationship with Him as our Father.

God asks us to spread this message and then MAKE DISCIPLES...a less fancy way of saying this is God asks us to spread His message and then MAKE FAMILY.

A disciple is a dedicated follower of Jesus and therefore a child of God. A disciple is one who has come out of the world and gained a royal linage for eternity.

Making a disciple is not making an obedient, non-questioning soldier. Making a disciple is accepting someone as your family member, and then helping them to mature as a child of God. Obedience and loyalty to Christ will follow as a disciple matures. We do not need to dictate, rather love, teach, warn and encourage...leading by example and commitment. Sure spiritual warfare will be a part of a Christian's journey...but it's not the focus, we've already won via our redemption and we have the upper hand due to our new linage.

I think sometimes people can get caught up in church life and service, and forget that making disciples starts at home.

I was reading this evening about the armour of God in Ephesians and when my eyes darted to the previous verses which speak about Christian households, I began to thinking about the Armour of God in a new 'family' way, compared to a personal application as I usually would have. I then kept reading backwards through this encouraging epistle from Paul to the church in Ephesus, a gentile region.

Paul begins by reminding the group they have passed from death to life and that this makes them one in Christ. Paul is reminding them of their Royal Unity. He begins in Chapter 3 to speak of his own ministry to the 'gentiles' to encourage and prepare the Ephesians' minds for unified missional thinking and outreach and again reminds them of their 'new life' as children of God compared to their old ways and the rest of the world.

But this is when it gets interesting, Paul then halfway through Chapter 5 begins to warn the readers to be 'wise' in how they live but this is NOT necessarily as individuals, even though it could be read this way. You see, Paul has been speaking about unity throughout the whole epistle, unity as a CHURCH FAMILY for faithful witness and proclamation. And after saying to be 'wise' in the middle of Chapter 5 he then speaks immediately about the Christian household! Husbands, wives, children, slaves and masters...before closing with the 'Armour of God' which we are so familiar with and usually read personally...

So tonight I am reading it less personally, and I am thinking about my call to proclaim the Gospel and raise disciples and therefore my obligation to not only raise children, but to raise them as disciples...Because remember making disciples is really raising family members!

So my question is...Does it change our thinking if we begin to re-read the famous 'Amour of God' Ephesisans 6:10-17 section, as a direction for the discipleship of our own children in our own family home?

What if we took up the whole Armour to spiritually lead our own children, to raise them as disciples (Children of God) before any other person in our church? Would we see more children in church with their families? I honestly believe so.

What if we were prayer warriors who lead by true example, and put our children first before others, and included them in appropriate ministry work with us? What if when we put shoes on our feet to proclaim, we also let our children join in? What if we included our children in family discussions about real matters of faith to help them use the shield? What if we discussed scripture within everyday living, giving them a true helmet of salvation, and prioritised their own devotional reading of scripture?

Now I am not saying people do not raise their children lovingly as disciples this way, because I know many do. But there are many of us who need encouragement to do so and to continue doing so, and I think that perhaps reading the 'Armour of God' in this new way definitely can help.

Have a read yourself of Ephesians as a whole letter, and see what you think of this wonderful epistle as encouragement for not only yourself but in leading your own family and raising them as disciples!

Love Mel.

Oh what a Good Father we have...Let's point our children to Him who is always the answer!