Monday, November 03, 2008

King Of This Heart



Time is too short to say it’s ok
To think I can live this way for just another day
So I search through the night
For the one my heart loves
Won’t stop till I’ve found you
Lord I need to hold you close

Be the king of this heart again
Be the king of this life
In my soul
There’s a cry today
Be the king of this heart
Be the king of this heart

I stood in the desert
And thirsted for you
I’ve run through the city
Now I won’t let go
I’m throwing myself
On your mercy oh God

You say it’s all or nothing
I say then Jesus have it all

Be the king of this heart again
Be the king of this life
In my soul
There’s a cry today
Be the king of this heart
You be the king of this heart

Be the light for my eyes
Be the strength for my feet
Be the love of my soul
Be my everything
Be my day and my night
When I wake, when I sleep
Undivided my heart will be

Be the king of this heart again
Be the king of this life
In my soul
There’s a cry today
Be the king of this heart
Would you be?
Be the king of this heart
Always

You say it’s all or nothing
I say then Jesus have it all

Be the king of this heart again
Be the king of this life
Yeah
In my soul
There’s a cry today
Be the king of this heart
Would you be?
The king of this heart
Jesus, would you be?
The king of this heart

Need you to be
The king of this heart
Always
You’re the king of this heart
You’re the king of this heart
You will be
The king of this heart




(Matt Redman)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's been a while...

Dear friends,

It's been a long while since I blogged about anything. I had a busy summer working at Camp which I really enjoyed. Since then I've been home babysitting 3 little precious girls and doing lots and lots of reading. Check out my recent reading list, if you want to know what books I've been reading. I'm hoping to go to England soon for a visit, as I miss my family and friends there.



I've also started a wishlist on amazon.ca - what a great idea for friends and family. I've been to New Brunswick this year and to 2 Canadian weddings! I went to a Canada National Park in Nova Scotia called Keji for Thanksgiving weekend, and it was amazing. The trees were changing colours and it was so beautiful. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera, but I've put a few pictures below that my friends took. There were so many amazing walking trails. I've also been going for a walk on a daily basis and loving it! It hasn't snowed here yet, but the weather is starting to get colder now.


A beautiful sunset
Deer


The pumkpin carving that won the contest at Keji!
Enjoying one of the awesome views of God's creation at Keji

More beautiful fall colours on Thanksgiving weekend!

Last but not least, my favourite!
Love from Ash x

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Book Of Job

I received an e-mail yesterday from a friend who had recently read an interesting article about the Book of Job, and so he forwarded it to me. I read it this morning and thought it worthy to copy and paste here for you to read...and I hope that you will be blessed by doing so. It's from Dr Warren Vanhetloo's almost-daily "Cogitations" - an email that he sends around to those who request it containing some great thoughts and insights on Scripture...


Pray to learn from Job and to live like Job.
"Consider My servant Job": Ah, Job. What an interesting character and story! My assumption always was that the book was well summarized by the idea of suffering. Trials, tribulations, sorrow, false accusation and all the other things that tend to make our lives miserable appear to cluster around Job like metal filings to a magnet. He endured more loss than dozens of us put together could possibly register. He kept only his wife and his life (and sometimes it appears as if keeping his wife was not all that great a blessing). Yes, like the Savior, he was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."
But somehow, that isn't the whole story! Many years ago I was having lunch with the late Louis Paul Lehman (twice pastor of the great Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, MI, radio preacher, and widely-known conference speaker). Paul was a delightful eccentric who tended to say things as they popped into his mind. He turned to me that day and said, "Do you know the real theme of the book of Job?" I answered with the obvious, "suffering." He, said, "That is an element in the picture, but it is not the real main theme." He went on to say that he was convinced that the main theme was this: Will a man serve God for nothing? He challenged me to study the encounter between God and Satan early in the book to determine if he was actually correct. I did, and he was.
God asks Satan if he has considered His servant Job. Satan responds that he has, but that he is not incredibly impressed. He suggests to God that anyone as blessed as Job would surely serve the God who had blessed him. He boldly suggests that if God takes away all he has, God might find another Job altogether lurking under the surface of the grateful and joyous Job he knows so well. The obvious implication? Job serves you for what he can get out of it. Take that all away and see what he does. In other words, let's find out if a man will serve God for nothing. [Rather than keep you hanging in case I forget at the end, the answer to that question is also strikingly clear before the conclusion of the book: yes, but with great difficulty!]
God sets a couple of boundaries and then tells Satan he can have at him, and the rest of the book unfolds the story of what transpires. There is a fairly simple outline to the book that goes as follows:
The Prologue - Chapter 1:1-28 (the story of Job)
The Dialogue - Chapter 2:9 - 42:6 (the struggles of Job)
The Epilogue - Chapter 42:7-17 (the sequel of Job).

Job's struggles are many and intense. He struggles with his circumstances, with himself (a major factor in the book), with his wife, with his friends, and with his God. The struggle with his friends takes up much of the book and is quite revealing. I think the phrase, "With friends like these, one doesn't need enemies," may have originated in Job. They were so spiritually ignorant that they said the right things to the wrong person, the wrong things to the right person, and the wrong thing to the wrong person, but never got around to saying the right thing to the right person.
Most of us are sufficiently familiar with the story that it is probably unnecessary to review all the gory details; suffice it to say that Job goes "through the mill" in ways that few if any of us have ever experienced (and most of us could not survive either physically, spiritually or emotionally), and he does so more than once.
We have the theme (a question and its answer), and we know the story. What lessons can we learn from his experience of God's dealings in his life? I believe there are at least ten lessons we can learn from His servant, Job.
1. God always has His purposes even though they are often unknown to us (should I have said most often unknown to us?). A praise chorus says, "though I may not understand all the plans You have for me, my life is in Your hands, and through the darkest night, I can plainly see, God is good!" And His overall purpose can be known: to glorify Himself through His servants.
2. Satan is alive and well on planet earth. No need to belabor this point; we all have eyes and ears. I always have mixed emotions at this point, however, as it is easy to blame everything that goes wrong on Satan and to fall back on the old excuse, "the Devil made me do it." The opposite, however, is equally wrong and dangerous - that Satan isn't involved in anything that happens. Don't automatically blame your troubles on Satan as some of the worst may be self-created. Don't, however, rule out the role that Satan plays in keeping the world in rebellion and the Saints in personal turmoil.
3. Struggles don't indicate sin in the life. Don't get over-simplified! Job had done nothing wrong to warrant what happened to him. Don't assume that your own sufferings or those of others have their root in some specific sin. It would be wise also to realize that lack of struggles at a particular time does not indicate that "God loves you better than He does His other children."
4. The overall story of the exchange between God and Satan also brings to the forefront the importance of motives. What Satan was really after was discovering the actual motives that drove Job. How much we need to examine our hearts to be sure that what we do is done for the right motive (at best as humans are able to do such). I've often said that right is its own reward. This - and many other truths - expresses that our motives are what determines the worth, if not the outcomes, of our efforts for the Lord.
5. It is natural for man to struggle. I think there has been a lot of erroneous teaching in this area. You know, the "comfort clich├ęs" that are part of an evangelical arsenal. If you think a struggling believer is required to "suffer in internal silence while expressing major external happiness," I think you have missed the point. Read the Psalms again. David said some things to the Lord that I would be even hesitant to think, and he did so out of the intense struggles through which he was passing. I'm not God, but I do know from Scripture that He remembers what we forget, even about ourselves: that we are dust!
6. This follows on the last point. It is ok to take our struggles to the Lord. He knows what's going on in our minds anyway, and it would seem only logical to openly bring such matters to Him. Again, I cite many of the Psalms of David. You can suffer in silence and loneliness, but I'm not at all sure that is necessary. If He keeps all our tears in a bottle, then he must have a lot of crying people coming to the throne.
7. The lessons to be learned are always worth the trials to be endured. Many of us can testify that some of the greatest learning experiences of life have been provided by the problems we have faced (especially those that were of our own making). In a moment we will see some of the incredible lessons Job learned. There is enough in the book to change our usual approach of "How can I get out of this?" to "What can I get out of this?"
8. Great flashes of light often come in the darkest of night. In the midst of his struggles (in Chapter 19), Job makes some striking revelations. Remember, Job probably lived in the Patriarchal age, and his story may well be the oldest in Scripture.
With that in mind, look at the "flashes of light" God gave him:

He got a glimpse of personal redemption - verse 25 ('I know that my Redeemer liveth," which expresses personal faith in redemption by a Personal Redeemer").
He got a glimpse of eternal resurrection - verses 25&26. "He shall stand upon the earth" (an interesting indication of millennial truth); "In my flesh I shall see God."

He got a glimpse of supernatural recognition - verse 27. "Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold," even though right now I feel like I am being destroyed ("my heart faints within me").

9. Ultimately, things always turn out right. Humanly and temporally, they do not. The way the lives of some of God's choicest servants end is, from a human standpoint, just plain not right. I think particularly of Donna and Doris and the host of others who are struggling near the end of the way in a manner they never knew before. The assurance is, however, that in the end, it all comes out right. What we must realize is that death is not the end, and that "the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed."
10. The final message of Job: Hang on to your faith no matter what. Job is a book of broad perspective, and we need to realize that Job didn't know what we know - that he was going to see it all come out right in this life (which also happens at times today). On the basis of what we know now, however, we would surely say to Job, "Hang in there, Buddy." And that's a good note on which to leave our study of Job - "Hang in there, friend."
God knows what He is doing whether or not we have even so much as a clue. – Dr. Chuck Wood

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Compassion

What is indiscriminate compassion? "Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I'll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people'? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature - even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character." ....

.... What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion: a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions. Jesus, the human Face of God, invites us to deep reflection on the nature of true discipleship and the radical lifestyle of Abba's child.

(Brennan Manning - Abba's Child, 75-76)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A disciple is one whose dream is to be like Jesus

Are you a leader or a follower? Do you like blazing new trails? Or are you more comfortable a well-defined path? Do you regard difficulties as challenges or as setbacks? Are you the kind of person who will keep pressing in to get what you’re after? How far will you go to realize your dreams?

A disciple is one whose dream is to be like Jesus.

Don’t confuse being a Christian with being a disciple. Every believer is a Christian but not every believer is a disciple. Disciples are believers who are committed to going deeper and deeper with the Lord—as deep as they can go. Most believers are content just to be saved. They’re just happy to have their ticket to heaven. The demands of the deeper life in Christ don’t really attract them.

And with good reason: those demands are high. In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus sets out the demands of discipleship in such terms as bearing a cross, counting the cost and forsaking all. Not for the faint of heart!

The deeper things of the Spirit are reserved for those who are willing and determined to press in and claim them—to plunge headlong into the wellspring of the very heart of God!

Paul was this kind of person. He was a trailblazer: “…I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation…” And he was willing to pay any price to touch the heart of Christ: “…I…count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” He understood that this would require single-minded determination: “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

You don’t have to be a trailblazer to be a disciple. You don’t have to be a natural leader. All you need is an abandoned love for Jesus and a heart that yearns to be like Him. It’s what Jesus calls hungering and thirsting for righteousness—and He promises satisfaction.

(Tommy Tenney - Finding Favour With The King)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A LOVE AFFAIR OF THE HEART

For above all else, the Christian life is a love affair of the heart. It cannot be lived primarily as a set of principles or ethics. It cannot be managed with steps and programs. It cannot be lived exclusively as a moral code leading to righteousness. In response to a religious expert who asked him what he must do to obtain real life, Jesus asked a question in return:

"What is written in the Law?.... How do you read it?"
He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
(Luke 10:26-28, emphasis added)



The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.

(The Sacred Romance 8)
(The Ransomed Heart 21 - John Eldredge)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Humility

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Philippians 2 v 1-11 (New Living Translation)


I read the passage above sometime last week, and it has really stuck with me all week, especially verses 6-8. I've been reflecting a lot lately about times in my life when I know that I'm right about something, and someone else disagrees, how I try to prove to them, that I really am right. Or when someone thinks something about me that is not true, I get upset and want them to see the truth of who I am.

Yet, in the passage above, it is amazing to see the extent of humility that Jesus carried, that though He was God, He was willing not only to be human but also to publicly die the death of a common criminal. I find that so incredible, and I realise how far I am, from walking in the humility that Jesus walked in.

Is my heart tender and compassionate? Or is it more concerned with how others see me?

O Father, please give me a tender and compassionate heart!

I've also been reading Colossians the last couple of days and in addition to the passage that I mentioned in my last post, below is another passage that has stuck with me, may you find them encouraging... and may you find Christ and hear the good news, if you don't already know Him.

Lots of love, Ash x


19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
- Colossians 1 v 19-23 (New Living Translation)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mercy

We had a staff meeting at work this morning, and one of my colleagues read out Colossians chapter 3v1-17. I particularly liked verses 12-14: 'Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.' I like that idea of clothing ourselves in love, and sometimes that is easier said than done.

Over the last week, I have been going to bed at night and listening to Laura Woodley's cd 'In Love' as I drift off to sleep. The first song/prayer on that cd is called 'Mercy' and there is this one line that gets me every time. She sings:

"I've been forgiven of more than I could ever be angry for.
Instead of judgement, I choose mercy."

I love that line, especially the last part : Instead of Judgement, I choose Mercy.

That has just been going round and round in my head all week. I can't stop thinking about that line! What a beautiful thing to choose :)

Over the last week, I found myself in a situation that upset me, and my first instinct reaction in my heart was to judge, but as soon as I made that judgement in my heart, I knew I had to repent, and I had the opportunity to put into practise this very wonderful gift that I have received...Instead of Judgement, I choose Mercy.

My prayer is that one day, that will be the instinct reaction of my heart, to choose mercy and not judgement. May we all choose Mercy and clothe ourselves in Love - how our world would be a better place if we all did that. Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement!

Love Ash x

Colossians 3-17 (The Message)
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.