Brain farts and grasshoppers

Come on,  we have all had one at some point!  That moment when you walked into a room and completely forgot why you went in there, or got home with the groceries to find that the one thing you really needed you didn’t pick up.  Pregnancy does weird things to a woman’s brain, I’m just saying it girls so you can feel better that you aren’t alone in the baby brain fog.  Cordless phones, actually anything not tied down was likely to find itself relocated to either the fridge or the freezer.  (I distinctly remember the fridge ringing at some point, only to discover I had shelved not one but two cups of coffee in there along with the phone).

How we think has a huge effect on our physical body, our mental well being, our performance, our relationships..everything.  Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart so is He.  We become the person we imagine ourselves to be-winner, champion, overcomer, prosperous, healed, or sick, poor, defeated, victim or victor.

While our physical circumstances may change there is one thing that is one is unchanging or absolute, thats Jesus!  We are who God says we are, have what He says we have and can do what He says we can do, if only we can wrap our minds around His word enough that we allow it to transform us.  Rom 12:1-2.

Circumstances change, storms pass over, scars heal, but unless we take time to deal with the after effects of a trial in our soul, we can remain stuck in it long after it has finished.  Elephants taken as a calves and chained to tree  with nothing more than a bicycle wheel on a rope to scare them, learn not to  pull on the rope to get away.  Fear of that bicycle wheel will keep the elephant bound to the tree long after it has become full grown, and more than able to break free.

In Numbers chapter 13, twelve spies were sent to spy out the land that the Lord was giving them.  The spies were sent on a recon mission to devise a plan to take the promised land, not ‘if’ they could but ‘how’ they could take it. The report that came back though was less than optimistic:

30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants[d] (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Only Joshua and Caleb could see past the problems, the others had grasshopper vision. screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-2-50-34-pmGrasshopper vision  had infected others around them and eventually stopped them from inheriting the promises too. Caleb and Joshua had a different spirit within them- they were victorious in their minds first, they were ‘how to people’.

Overcoming grasshopper vision begins with a decision to look beyond the circumstances of today to the future and the promises that the Lord has already set in motion for us. There maybe giants in the land but we are well able to overcome them with Jesus!

3 John 2- Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Look out for my next blog where we will look at practical ways to reset our thinking and break free from grasshopper vision!

 

 

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Faith Comes By Hearing

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Healing begins with hearing.

When I first heard God speak on the inside of my head, I feared I may have experienced some mental derangement, probably from a lack of sleep. (After all, any mother caring for three children under the age of three, who changes a minimum of 20 pampers a day, could expect a few damaged brain cells, right?) Then I got an epiphany; God always spoke—He was always there—but now I was finally listening (Is. 51:16, Heb. 13:5, and Matt. 13:15).

During an afternoon young Mum’s afternoon Bible study we sat; in as near a silence as one possibly could with a herd of toddlers dissembling the bedroom next door, and practiced listening to whatever the Lord had to say. I was certain that the only reason God would ever speak me would be to bring correction, so I was always careful to make sure every sin was promptly confessed. I even included a blanket statement at the end of my prayers, “And please forgive me for anything else I forgot to mention. Amen.” Because of my diligence, I was confident the Lord would have nothing to say to me. Still, I sat as requested, cleared my mind of wandering thoughts, and listened. To my surprise, thoughts began to pop into my head which seemed to come from nowhere. With one eye tightly shut and the other very slightly open, I shot a glance around the room to see if anyone was the source of the conversation going on in my head. It was then I realized the Lord was putting thoughts in my mind!

I had dealt with sickness forever. It was a source of strain in my daily life, but also my spiritual life. I was reading my Bible and just couldn’t reconcile the differences I was seeing in the early church and the one I attended. I couldn’t understand how God could be described as loving and yet be responsible for much of the suffering and heartache ascribed to Him. I began to recall all the people I had seen prayed for and healed. (I had actually never seen or heard of anyone receiving healing in a spiritual way. I knew of people who thanked God for healing them, and I am sure that He had a part to play in it, but they all followed some course of medical treatment. Rather than seeing this as a matter of divine intervention, the nurse part of me concluded that medicine had done its job.) In my experience, Christians prayed for the sick more from duty than with any real expectancy. We always ended our prayers with, “If it be thy will Lord,” and that hardly seemed a guarantee. But how could we know if God was in a good mood? Or if the person being prayed for deserved healing? Or even if God still healed? Then I recalled reading in James:

 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.            James 5:14-15

And I noticed it wasn’t just any prayer that “saved the sick.” Healing required a prayer of faith. Well if faith is to be sure of the things I hope for and certain of the things I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1), I thought, than praying with faith involves a level of certainty not wonder. Apparently, when James wrote about praying for the sick he was not asking God to heal them, but expecting to see them healed. No wonder I hadn’t seen or heard of any healings! There was clearly no shortage of sick or praying people, but there was a shortage of faith. That day I realized that faith has to be present for healing to be received. As I sat there processing these thoughts and listening, I heard something that sounded so alien to me I knew it could never have come from my flesh. I heard:

Carlie, you have held Me outside of the Epilepsy. You don’t need to. I want to take it from you, if you want me to. In two weeks’ time, you can be free from this if you choose to be. Flip the switch.”

Little did I know that this simple phrase would change the course of my life forever.  Hearing was the first step to believing, and believing to receiving.  Take time to listen and hear God today, He is trying to get good things to you that might just change your life.  Rom 10:17

By Royal Appointment

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Growing up in England, I didn’t realize the significance of the Royal Crest that appeared on our favorite brand of ketchup and jam.  It was a sign that signified quality; a Royal stamp of approval. It is good to know that the Queen is stocking her pantry with the same things I’m feeding my family! After all, we are royalty too:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9

We may not have all been born into a life of privilege naturally, but we have all been born-again into a Royal family.  Adopted into the family of God, Ephesians 1:5, and chosen by Him and set apart for great things, John 15:16.

Recently Prince George was born into the Royal household.  He did nothing himself to deserve such opportunity, or favor.  The benefits he will enjoy growing up are based on his birthright not on his performance.  Yet as a member of the Royal family he will be raised differently, not just because he lives in splendor but in the way that he thinks.  He will be raised with the knowledge of who he is, that he has a defined purpose, that he is a leader, and as such it will influence his choices – the relationships he engages in, the career path he pursues etc.  His lifestyle will reflect his calling and identity.

As children of God, we have been given a new identity.  This was nothing that we earned, but it comes with all the benefits of a Royal birthright: favor Luke 2:52, Romans 8:17, provision Psalm 34:10, protection (Mark 16:18, Ps 91) and purpose, Ephesians 2:10!

The challenge is when we look around us and our situation doesn’t match up to what we believe.  It is easy to become discouraged and start agreeing with the world’s view of us rather than Gods.

King David had to overcome this very thing.  When Samuel the prophet anointed David as king, he was the least likely of all his brothers to amount to much.  As the youngest he was not even invited to the king picking party, they had to go get him in from the sheep field!  It must have been an awkward moment, Samuel made them all remain standing while they waited on David’s arrival! (You can read this in 1Sam chapters 16,17)

Anyway, David was anointed king. What happened next was not a gold chariot, robe or Royal feast, no he went back out to look after the sheep!  It took a while before anything in the natural changed.  Yet inside David knew that God had set him apart for great things and He was with him.  It was this identity and confidence in his relationship with the Lord that produced the boldness that he needed to defeat Goliath!

In the face of adversity, David killed that giant first in his thinking as he saw himself as the victorious king that he was appointed to be.

Be encouraged today that the Goliath’s in our life may look huge but they are there to be defeated, and inside of you is everything it takes to win in Jesus name! It’s time to get our ‘Royal’ on, and live as heirs to the King of Kings!

Stop the madness!

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Parenting is a wonderful opportunity to learn ‘chaos control’, or crisis management as it’s often known. Parents have usually refereed more games by dinner time than their kids will ever compete in on the field! The business world has given the skills that we teach our children intellectual names like ‘conflict resolution’, but it’s really no different from the sharing lesson that we learned in the sandbox! Valuable life skills are passed on through that parent child relationship. The more a child can listen to the wisdom of those who love them most and have lived life a little longer, the greater success and happiness they find as they learn from others challenges and victories.

If only we could sit still long enough to listen though right? Anyone who has any emotions or has been around someone who does has had the opportunity to experience the effects of drama on a person’s ability to listen. Toddlers demonstrate this perfectly.

When our children were very small and threw a fit or hurt themselves in some way, we knew we were in trouble when no sound came out. The silent red faced scream as they inhaled ready to burst ear drums with their piecing wails. With our first child Zachary, we tried to talk him down, reason with him, explain that life isn’t always fair, and show him the error of his ways. By child number three the resolution was much swifter! We found that reasoning in the moment of crisis was hard for children to receive. This is true for adults too; in the midst of emotion it’s hard to hear the voice of reason. Yet listening is the very thing that will help us the most.

By the time Hannah was around four years old, we were half way through our Bible college studies. We had learned powerful lessons and were pumped full of the scriptures, ready to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. I guess we must have missed the class on binding the midnight madness though because we were woefully un-prepared!

At the point where we were in the deepest sleep of the night, we were awakened by a shrieking child. One of those ‘I’m really hurting’ cries that knots a parent’s gut. I rushed into Hannah’s room and scooped her up to comfort her, but nothing seemed to work. She was holding the back of her neck in pain and would not let me look at it. We did everything we knew to do-prayed for her, spoke to the pain, begged God; we bound the powers of darkness and even took her into our bed! Nothing. I was convinced that she had something serious going on, my mind checking off all the symptoms of meningitis. Finally, after running out of ideas I listened. Not to the ear piercing screams but to the Holy Spirit.

He said to look at her finger. Odd I thought but ok. Sure enough her little finger was caught up in her hair under hand at the base of her neck. She had fallen asleep twiddling her hair around her finger and it had cut the circulation off. When I pulled her hand away from her neck it hurt more so she screamed louder. One snip with the scissors was all that was needed!

I learned that night to listen first rather than after trying everything else! Often there is a simple solution, one that can easily be overlooked in the middle of the chaos. Listening skills are easier to practice when it’s quiet, rather than like me, and waiting until the storm was in full force.

John 10:27

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear the Lord about the noise of life, and easy to assume that He is not hearing us. Be encouraged that He is always listening and that we can always hear Him, when we listen. Take some time out today, just to be still and listen for the answers that you have been looking for. There are many ways that God speaks to us, and we explore some next time, but listening and expecting to hear is the key!