Monday, 21 September 2015

Kingdom Life in the Spirit

Spirit life..........    Kingdom Life........    Flesh life........

These three will make up our whole  way of living and relating in our families. Often, unfortunately, the flesh life will overtake the life of the spirit. Who knows this? How often can we say with Paul, “I know what is right and good to do but I just go and do the opposite!”? See Romans 7:15,19.

 Let’s just define these three:

Living in the Spirit means living a life filled with the Holy Spirit and relating every action and thought and habit pattern to Him, living life in His fullness and therefore demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit as detailed in Gal 5:22. Remember these gifts grow and will certainly not be full and ripe overnight. So keep pressing on even when you feel your patience, kindness, gentleness etc is at low ebb!

Living in the Kingdom means living under the rule of Jesus your King, making Him Lord of your life. Jesus has saved us and set us free by His death on the Cross and we are forgiven, loved and accepted children of God. However, we need to progress by learning obedience and finding out His will for us even in the mundane ordinary daily tasks and responsibilities we have as parents. It is incredibly liberating when you seek and find His will (eg: in budgeting) because you know then He will provide the resources to overcome and live for Him, in right relationship, and in peace and joy! 
“For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” Rom 14:17.

Living in the flesh is just exactly what it says! Your life is ruled not only by your own desires but also by your children's demands and the stresses of life. Peace and joy go out of the window! And this will result in the opposite of the fruits of the Spirit, as in Gal 5:19-21. “…strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions ….”! Sound familiar? There are extremes portrayed in this list, and of course, living in the flesh will ultimately lead to possible immoral behaviour and impurity.

But, to bring this into the perspective of ordinary family life, here is a list of what the flesh will let us in for:

  • Harshness and anger
  • Laziness and laxness
  • Too busy
  • Selfish
  • Temperamental
  • Inconsistent
  • Joyless and depressed
  • Lonely
  • Frustrated and bored
  • Fed-up
 You can add to this list, I am sure.

Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Gal 5:25 We are born again children of God and we live in the Spirit as, by faith, we recognise our flesh has been crucified with Christ (Gal 5:24), but we have to learn to WALK our daily lives in the Spirit.

Only by the grace of God, His love and mercy in our lives daily, can we live by the Spirit. It means continuing dependence on Him in every part of our lives. Peter, the impetuous disciple, who used to jump in with both feet, tells us, “…keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behaviour.” 1 Peter 1:13-15

“All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Rom 8:14

Living in the fullness of the Spirit also means living in the Kingdom, where Jesus is King! There is no way we can achieve this without the constant help, grace and presence of Jesus in our lives. It means a daily giving of ourselves and our family to Him! It means joy and peace, even in times of stress and difficulty! 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

"Be kind to one another!"

At last, after a long break, this blogger is returning! My desire as I write again is to encourage mums and dads everywhere, and maybe, on occasion, a grandparent or two as well!

I was reading this morning in Ephesians 4, and want to share 2 verses with you:

Eph 4:24
.... and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Eph 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

I believe that our family units represent "the Kingdom of God in miniature" and "the Body of Christ in nucleus"! Can you work that out?

The epistles are written to the family of God, the Church of Jesus Christ, and therefore I believe apply to us within our family groupings first and foremost.How exciting to read an epistle, reading each part as for our own family. For example, turn to Ephesians1 now and read the first three verses. Instead of "the saints who are at Ephesus", put in your home address! And speak out these verses of grace, peace and blessing to your family. Wow!

Eph 1:1-3
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ ..... "

Now back to the verses at the top of this post. When we take these scriptures into our hearts, then feelings of failure and guilt and condemnation can go out of the door! Why? Surely, this scripture could make me feel even worse? I have not been kind, or I argued with my husband, and got annoyed with the kids! But LOOK - just LOOK at verse 24 - your new man/woman was created in what? In continual striving to be right? In working to please God? In works of 
self-righteousness? NO! 

No, "according to God, in true righteousness and holiness"!  You are a NEW creation in Christ Jesus! The only "true" righteousness is Jesus Christ Himself. Our very best efforts will never make it! So stop trying - lean on Jesus - ask Him to clothe you and be your all in all!

2 Cor 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Is it by any work you have done? No. It is through the work Jesus did for you on the Cross, and through His resurrection life. It is about Who He is.  Never what you do. 

So today, begin to look at HIS righteousness and look at Jesus! When God looks at you, He sees not what you used to be - or your latest failure - He sees JESUS! To be kind and tender-hearted and gentle is Christ's nature, and He will bring that about in us as we look at HIM.

He is the One to transform our families into refuges of love, joy, peace and hope. Your children will mess up at times, we parents definitely get it wrong often - but Jesus! He does not stand there pointing out our faults - but holding out His hands to help and strengthen and give us HIS life!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Back to School

The last 2 weeks has seen children back at school and new routines being established at home after the long summer holidays.  (in our part of the world anyway!) 

Here are 3 very simple things to do for your kids as they venture forth - some to school for the first time, others to a new school or up to secondary education. Big changes in a young life! They face challenges and also worldly influences that they can be secure from at home. So how do we protect our children - their minds and souls, as we cannot be physically present with them?

1)  Worship at home, playing Christian songs in the house and car, soaking our kids in the presence of the LORD. Sing with your little ones whenever possible, and encourage the older ones to listen to their favourite Christian bands and songs. If you can manage a family worship time together, make it happen - especially if your children can play instruments too. They will carry this presence of the Holy Spirit with them as they go out.

2) Bless your kids. One of the functions of a parent is as a "priest" in his household. Sometimes Mum will be the one to see them off to school, and in other families, it will be Dad - whichever one of you, just bless your child in the Name of Jesus as they leave you for school. Just a simple hand on their head and "God bless you" is powerful! The blessing of the Lord brings His love, His favour, His wisdom, His help and strength, His protection - wow!

3) Pray for your children at different times throughout the day - not great long prayers - but just as the Holy Spirit prompts, lift each one to Jesus. And, if you know of any particular problem or challenge that child is facing - pray God's Word into that - see my blog on "Promises for your Family". Pray God's answers and God's love!

The Lord is faithful and He WILL care for your precious young ones.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Promises for your Family

There are verses throughout the Bible which show us God's heart for family and His promises for our children and grandchildren. And I do believe that a mother or father's prayer is powerful, because it comes from the heart of God, our heavenly Father! Here are a few verses to meditate on and to use as you pray. I often speak and declare the Word, because we are promised that God's Word does not return to Him without achieving His purpose. Isaiah 55:11 Also, as we speak out loud, and confess God's truth, faith grows in our hearts for what might seem impossible situations.

“All your children shall be taught by the Lord…” Isaiah 54:13
Note that this verse is in the context of affliction. How many parents all over the world need to hear this. It is not perfect circumstances or lack of hardship which produces godly children, but the Lord’s kindness and His covenant, verse 10.

 “I will pour water on him who is thirsty…I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring…..” Isaiah 44:3-5   The only condition here is to be thirsty!

"And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and you young men will see visions ...." Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 God will give gifts of His Spirit to our children.

 “ your children like olive plants all around your table…” Psalm 128:1-4
This psalm speaks of the blessing of the Lord for those who fear Him - love, honour and trust Him. Note these children are at home, and the impression is one of health and vitality and joy!  They will not wander away.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; arrows...” sent out to do God’s purpose and to make peace, Psalm 127:3-5  .

“Those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever...” Deut 29:29  Revelation belongs to our children. We can expect them to hear God’s secrets, so that they obey Him and often challenge us too!

 “I will be the God of all the families… and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:1

 “…your children shall come back…” Jeremiah 31:17  Never give up. If a child wanders, perhaps as a teenager or even as an adult, he will come back! See verse 20 too, and the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.

Many other verses all over the Bible give promises for us to humbly pray and claim for our children.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Holy Spirit for your Family

 For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. Acts 2:39 (Amp)

What a wonderful promise to remember! The Holy Spirit is for you AND for your children!  Maybe, as you read this verse, you say, "But it says the promise is only for those who God invites. I am not good enough or don't deserve the Holy Spirit in my life." Or you may be thinking of how naughty your children have been recently, and can't imagine that the Holy Spirit wants to live in them!! I want you to come with me to John's gospel, chapter 7. There in verse 37, what does Jesus say - He actually shouts it out: 

" If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!....."

Who does Jesus invite to come - ANY man or woman or child! ( One day I will post another study to show from the New Testament that Jesus always included children!) What does "any" mean? Does it mean just those who qualify. At present the Olympic torch has just started its relay journey around Britain. It is true that "anyone" can attempt to enter the Olympic Games, but most of us most definitely would not pass the first hurdle. You have to be super-fit and extraordinary at your chosen sport. So, in the end, "anyone" is not "anyone". You have to qualify. Let us see what Jesus says about qualifying?

"If any man is thirsty,"

This means we can all come with our failings, weaknesses and disappointments - we can come because we are thirsty for HIM and for His love and grace for us.  We may feel empty and useless and worthless, but that does not disqualify us - it qualifies us!! Jesus continues to tell us that as we come to Him, believing, He will fill us and overflow us and rivers of life will flow out of us. The Bible tells us:
"He was speaking here of the Spirit...."
Jesus promises the Spirit to ANYONE who is thirsty and believes and comes to Him. Peter, in his first sermon, tells us that this promise is for us and for our children. Be thinking about what this means for your family. And we will come back in another post to the amazing blessing of knowing the Holy Spirit is with your children - and with you as a mum or a dad!
When I was only 13 and had recently asked Jesus to come into my life, we returned from England, where my father had been working in London for 2 years, to Kenya, where I had spent my childhood up to 11 years old. I had to go to boarding school as soon as we got back. This was very hard for me, as my parents and sisters went on from Nairobi to Kisumu where my father was to begin work - 200 miles away. BUT Jesus was with me. And, although I didn't know much about the Holy Spirit, He was in me! One night the other girls in my dorm went into the cupboard room after lights out, with their torches, to play a game. Well, I had no worries about disobeying school rules, and went to play this "game" with them. They put the letters of the alphabet in a circle and we sat around with a glass in the middle. Well, you know, I expect, what this is about, but I had no idea! I was only 13. The first girl asked a question and we all had to put our fingers on the glass, and it was meant to start moving. At that point, I just knew I shouldn't be involved, even though I was sure they were pushing the glass! So I got up and went back to my bed. When I was in bed again, I prayed and asked for the blood of Jesus to protect me and to protect the other girls. At that time, no one had taught me about the power of the blood of Jesus to protect us from evil. But I remember praying that specifically. Then I went to sleep. The next morning, I heard the other girls talking and bemoaning the fact that the glass had not worked - and they never, to my knowledge, tried it again! Looking back, I KNOW that it was the Holy Spirit in me Who alerted me to the satanic nature of this so-called "innocent game", and also taught me to pray the blood of Jesus for protection! If our children and teenagers know Jesus, we can trust the Holy Spirit in them. When we can't be with them to guide and shield them, the Holy Spirit can and will guard them from all evil.
John 14:26 (NASV)  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 
John 16:13 (Mssge) "But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is...."
Friend, Helper, Guide - He, the Holy Spirit is in YOU! And with you! Every single day, in all the ups and downs, He will never leave you or your children alone!

Monday, 14 May 2012

God is with You!

God is with YOU! He is there in all the day to day routine and the humdrum of daily life. He is there when you need wisdom and guidance in being a parent, or when you have decisions to make. He is there when you are relaxing and enjoying your family.  As you seek to love Him and bring up your children for Him, He is most definitely with you and for you. And one of the very best things we can teach our children is that God is with them and for them! 

When Joshua began to lead Israel into the promised land after Moses death, wow, he had a formidable task! This is what God said to him:

"I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised ......... Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take." Joshua 1:5-9 (Mssge)

Parents, do you think you also have a responsibility in  leading your young people into their promised land? Each child has their own inheritance in Christ, and God has a purpose and a plan to bring to fulfillment in each life. So the answer is Yes, you do have responsibility in leadership, but don't let this make you anxious.  Read the verse above again and take heart - GOD is with you every step of the way! 

God is with you, but more about that in another blog. Right now I want to concentrate on our children knowing that God is with them and FOR them. Don't be like that angry mum who said to her 3 year old, "Don't you do that, God is watching you! " implying that He is there to be angry and punish the child. No, no, certainly not! Our children need to grow in the knowledge that God loves them, that He is with them and will never leave them. 

At a mums and tots group, the mums were chatting, and the little ones playing, when a little boy fell over and banged his knee on a toy. He ran to his mother crying, and as she cuddled him, she said, " Please Jesus make Caleb's knee better!" It was obvious that this child was learning at every turn that God is with him! He will grow up to be a man of faith like his namesake! (See Num 13:30, 14:24).  Use every opportunity to talk to Jesus and thank Jesus with your children, and to pray with them and for them. And tell them of the great things He has done in the Bible and for you personally and as a family.

When my daughter was just 3 years old, she was in the bath with her 7 month old brother  when, without warning he suddenly tried to pull himself up at the side of the bath. We were living abroad and the edge of the bath was tiled and sharp and he slipped and caught his chin on the sharp edge. Of course, I was sitting there - and grabbed Stevie and wrapped him in his white towel, holding it against his mouth and chin and it quickly turned red with the flow of blood. Joey, as we called her then, put her hand up to touch her baby brother, saying, "Jesus, make baby boy better!" When he stopped crying, I unwound the towel to find out how badly he had cut himself, and although I searched, there was not a mark or any swelling on his chin, or lips or tongue! There was just nothing to show for all that blood! I was amazed - no wonder I remember it to this day! God had touched our little boy right there in our bathroom! The simple prayer of faith from a little girl, was answered beyond my expectation! The towel was soaked in blood - but none on him! God was certainly with us! And my little girl and I certainly knew that evening that Jesus, our Healer, was very close and that He loves us.

Look at these examples in the Bible of young people who God had His hand on. Each one of these young men and women were given a special task from the Lord - but first they needed to know that GOD was with them. Gideon was so weak, he was hiding from the enemy while he did the family chores. Samuel and David were just young lads. Jeremiah was a young man - God told him :

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“ Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you.” 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably only a teenager when the angel of the Lord told her she would become the mother of the Messiah! She needed to KNOW God was with her! And  Jesus Himself needed to know His Father's presence more than anything else!

Samuel: 1Sam 3: 19
 “Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him
and let none of his words fail.”

Gideon:  Judges 6:12
“And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him
          ‘The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

 David:  1 Sam 17: 37
“And David said, ‘ The Lord Who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”      
And Saul said to David, “Go and may the Lord be with you.” 

“ Now Saul was afraid of David for the Lord was with him.”
                         “And David was prospering in all his ways
for the Lord was with him.”

Jeremiah  Jeremiah 1:8
 “’Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,’                                   declares the Lord.”

Mary: Luke 1:28
                   “And coming in, the angel said to Mary, ‘ Hail favoured one!
                   The Lord is with you’”

Jesus:  Luke 2:40
“And the child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

Now, you may argue that these were special people in the Bible and they certainly were. And so are your children special. Each one has a destiny and God has a plan for each life. As your children experience God with you and God with them, and learn to love His presence, then they will grow up into that future and purpose that God has for them. 

Here are a few ways of making sure that you and your children keep remembering Jesus is with you:

Sing praise songs in the car, have praise cds playing at home, and when your children are going to sleep.
Pray together at night and any other time. Let prayer be simple and a natural conversation with Jesus.
Pray for problems your child shares and school troubles and difficulties.
Thank the Lord together for answered prayer and that He is good AND that He is with YOU!
Do lots of fun things, and laugh a lot - because your children will absorb that it is great to know God!
Most of all, keep affirming to your child that he/she is special to God and that the Lord is always close to help and will keep him/her safe always.

Hebrews 13:5,6 (Amplified)
..... for He [God]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper .... I will not fear.

Start speaking that out today "The LORD is my Helper" to yourself and to your kids! You can alter the inflection on the words - 

"The LORD is my Helper."
"The Lord IS my Helper."
"The Lord is MY Helper."
"The Lord is my HELPER."

Do you get it?? God is with you! He will never leave you. He is with each of your children right now!

If you are reading this, and you are not sure whether you really know God, then just ask Him to come into your life. Jesus died for you and loves you and your family. If you want to know more about knowing Jesus, look at the link  here .

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Be refreshed ....

My heart goes out to parents, all mums and dads, who are tired or hassled or just not sure how you can fit into your day all the things you have to do as well as responding to the demands and needs of your children, plus all the other interruptions. Life today is full of stress and workloads and problems that can seem just too much to cope with ... here are a few thoughts from the Bible to start the day:

 Deut 33:28 and Hos 14:5.
"His heavens also shall drop dew..."
"I will be like dew..."

 Dew comes first thing in the morning, and God also comes early - He is there waiting for you as you wake. His refreshing dew is there for your tiredness. His understanding love is waiting to speak into your heart and into all your hopes and desires and disappointments and frustrations and worries. He is there, still and quiet, waiting to drop that still dew of His presence into the depths of your being. Dew is there when you haven't got time to get a big drink from the Word. 
Be stilled, be refreshed,  be encouraged and renewed with the gentle Holy Spirit dew upon you today!

Each morning as you get out of bed, before your feet touch the ground, just ask the Holy Spirit to come with His dew, with His gentle refreshing love and give you grace and help for everything you will face today. 

And for practical ways to allow God's dew to refresh your life and to keep in touch with Jesus through your busy day, have a look at "Mums with Jesus Part 3" on my daughter Jo's website Mums, Kids, Jesus.