Friday, August 6, 2010

All Grace Abounding - Part 2

It's been a life long habit to condemn myself for things I didn't do and even to apologize when someone points out my (perceived) shortcomings. It's only later that I realize, "Hey, wait a minute! I didn't do it! I had nothing to apologize for."

After writing my last post it slowly dawned on me that the reasons I am in debt have more to do with necessity than with frivolity. I'm making payments on a decent car I bought a couple of years ago to get me safely from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley and back a couple of days a week while I was ministering to women in the federal and provincial jails. The second year I had the car I had to spend $4,000 in car repairs. Then I made two trips to Ontario, six months apart, to be with my mother who was sick and who passed away during my second trip. And over the past few months I've often used my credit cards to buy groceries as my income dropped to less than half what it used to be. (Thankfully I started a job this weekend which will boost my income.)

Along the way I made a few frivolous purchases, music from iTunes and the occasional dinner out at a restaurant for my family members, but most of my debt load is not a result of frivolity. When I wrestle with whether or not I need an iPhone or some other electronic gadget that I feel I can't live without, I take it to God. And when I do, He cuts through the deception and shows me the truth. And, occasionally, after I've surrendered the desire - or the need - to Him, He gives me what I want. I had an iTouch given to me a few months ago by a friend who upgraded to an iPhone. I was so surprised! But it reminded me that God not only gives us what we need, but sometimes he even gives us what we want.

The dilemma in all of this for me is still the same: trust in God. If God is faithful to provide for my needs then why was the money not there when the need presented itself. If I'd waited on Him to provide for my airplane ticket home, would I have got there in time to spend time with my mom before she passed? I know, the answer is yes because I believe God wanted that for me, and also for my mom. I was the only person who could share the message of His love through the Cross of Christ with her.

More verses from the book of James come to mind. James 4:2 says, "You do not have, because you do not ask." I did ask, but maybe I didn't wait long enough. But probably, I didn't trust God to provide, or to get me there in time. And so I panicked and took matters into my own hands, charging ahead instead of waiting for Him to provide. Previous to the verse I quoted in my last post about being double minded, Paul writes, "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord."

It's not that God withholds His blessings and provision out of spite or retribution - He loves to give good gifts to His children. It's just that we need to pray for what we need and want and then release that need or want into His hands. As long as we keep hanging onto it and trying to take care of our own needs, He will let us try, just as a gentle, loving Father would.

A very wise friend and dear brother in Christ who passed away several years ago once told me of an image the Lord had given Him to help him to let go and let God. God showed my friend a father and son on a beach trying to fly a kite. The little boy was independent and maybe a little stubborn too, and when his kite's string became entangled, he tried to fix it himself while holding onto the kite at the same time. The father came alongside the boy, ready to take the tangled mess of string from him and make it smooth and functional again, but the boy continued to struggle with it on his own until the string became hopelessly entangled. When he finally gave up and let go, reluctantly putting the knotted mass in the hands of his father, a miracle occurred. The string was restored to order and the boy was able to use it once again.

I miss my wise friend. He had such a gentle way of pointing me back to God. But my Father in Heaven is gentle and wise too, and He is waiting for me to give Him my tangled ball of string so that I can fly my kite freely and without any hassles.

God, You are  my loving Father, and I release to You now all of the balls of string that I have been picking at and worrying about in the past few years. Please take them from me. I trust that You will restore them and return them to me transformed by Your miracle working power. Make me free to be and to do all that You would have me be and do. Help me to remember that it pleases You to give me the Kingdom. I ask it all in Jesus' Name.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All Grace Abounding

Let me be a shadow in Your light
The lesson I always seem to be learning is to trust in God to provide for all of my needs. It's difficult in this day and age to wait for His provision; we have instant cash available to us night and day, at home or abroad. Even if our bank account is showing zeroes or a negative balance, which mine is at the moment, we can still rely on our credit cards or overdrafts to enable us to purchase what it is we think we need at any given moment.

I'm learning, at my ripe age, that if the cash isn't there, then the item I think I need is not actually something God is providing for me. It's wanting what God has not ordained for me that has landed me in a huge pile of stinking debt. It's time to bring my finances under God's rule.

 A few weeks ago I sought God about this area of my life and asked Him to show me why my life was still unmanageable in the area of finances. Why am I constantly accumulating debt? I've been responsible about making large payments every month - when I can afford to - but my account balances are still continually climbing. God responded to my question with one word, and that word was quite a shock, "Double-minded." The shock of it was - it's true!

I trust God to provide for me, and yet I still want to occupy the driver's seat in this area of my life because I'm afraid of never having enough. I want to pay down my debt and be free of it, but then I find some worship music online that I've got to have, or I decide that I can't live without the latest technological gadget that's arrived on the scene and I battle long and hard with whether or not I should buy it. I want to live simply, and yet I continue to accumulate "things" that complicate my life and clutter it both physically and mentally, stealing away my time and my peace.

After I got over the initial shock, I repented before God for the sin of double-mindedness. Then I asked Him to help me to get on track and pay down my debts. I asked Him for the grace to be single-minded about this and it has helped. I've been tempted to buy some things that I haven't had the money for, but when I remember that if the cash isn't there it's not God's plan for me to have that thing, then I am able to let it go without feeling like I'm missing out. I have to continually ask for wisdom and grace in these matters.

What I know without a doubt, even from my own personal experience, is that God's plans for me are so much greater than anything I could ever dream up for myself. When I single-mindedly focus on discerning His will and obeying it, my life is so amazing! I have all that I need in the moment and I am led on adventures that I never imagined were possible.

As I sought God in my quiet time this morning and prayed again for His help and His grace concerning my finances, He gave me this verse of scripture which I want to commit to memory, meditate upon and proclaim aloud to myself:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Thank You, Father, that I can trust You to take care of all of my needs. I put my life, and my needs, into Your hands today, trusting that you are able, and willing, to make all grace abound to me.

Abundant grace! Who could ask for anything more!

Photo courtesy of my son, Jeremy Williams

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beholding the Glory

It's a funny thing about knowing Jesus, that the longer you know Him, the greater the longing to know more about Him becomes. It's a desperate, but exquisitely beautiful, hunger that drives you to try to get closer and closer; to search out the things of God in His Word; and to constantly seek His presence and strain to hear His voice. But there are some followers of Christ who have let their love for Jesus grow cold. They've lost the hunger and forgotten the joy and passion of "first love." Or maybe they never knew it, but when a person's love of Christ is "lukewarm," a spirit of religion can slowly begin to take root. The joy and passion of knowing Jesus, and the freedom available in Him, are slowly replaced by a hardhearted, self-righteous, bean-counting mentality that keeps a close watch on what others are doing and not doing, and feels justified to openly criticize. It's people like this who've earned the Christian church in North America the label "hypocrite". 

God does not take this issue of love growing cold lightly. The first and greatest commandment, according to Jesus is to love God with all  your heart, soul, mind and strength, and throughout the Bible God calls His people to return to their first love. He doesn't like it when the things of the world distract us from loving Him with all we've got.

In Revelation 2, Jesus asks John to deliver a message to the Christians in Ephesus. Although by all appearances the Ephesian church seems to be doing everything right, Jesus says, "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first." He goes on to give the Ephesian church an ultimatum, either turn back to what you once were or lose your place in the Kingdom of Heaven. He knows that a people who have lost their first love for Him will not represent Him or serve Him as He desires they should.

I've been in the midst of churches who've lost their first love for one reason or another. One such church enjoyed an amazing time of revival that made it a place of healing and power; it impacted nations as many received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and were anointed to preach and minister. But even so, their love grew cold because they became complacent, believing that, because of the great move of God among them thirty years ago, they knew all there was to know about Him and didn't need to seek Him anymore. The hunger to go deeper, the longing to draw closer, slowly faded and was replaced by arrogance and pride and gossip and strife took hold of the people. The Holy Spirit was all but removed from this church for a time, but thankfully, they have turned and there is life among them again.

So what is the secret to staying in that place of first love? It's not easy to remain there, especially when those who've become jaded by familiarity and complacency scoff, and scorn, and even try to trip you up. You start to doubt and to wonder if maybe you really are foolish, or crazy. It takes focus, it takes work, and it takes help and encouragement to "abide" in Jesus' love. But I believe the "secret" lies in this simple but profound verse:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

It's when we behold His glory that we fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus. It's when we are beholding His glory that we experience the awe and wonder we felt when we first met Him and were born again. It's while we are beholding His glory that we remember who He is, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One who is above everything on earth and in heaven and under heaven, the Alpha and the Omega, the One through whom and for whom all things were made - the exact representation of the Father. And as we behold His glory with unveiled face - not running away or holding anything back - we are changed. As we continue to behold His glory we are slowly transformed into the SAME image, becoming more and more like Him. We do not fall back to our old comfortable  ways or become complacent with what we have and what we have achieved. No, we continue moving closer to His holiness and majesty, always being made more like Him from one degree of glory to another.

I want to be awakened to Christ's glory every single day, to pursue precious glimpses of His glory in every waking moment. One experience of His glory just isn't enough for me. There are times when I need His grace to do this, times when sorrow or complacency and jadedness begin to set in. But as I continue to seek Him and to behold His glory - even in the very world around me - I find I can abide in that place of first love. And I find that the hunger and thirst for more of Him continues to grow stronger every day. It's this hunger and thirst - placed in me by God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit - that drive me to go deeper, to seek further, to keep longing to know more of Him and to be more like Him.

I read the latest newsletter from Threshold Ministries while taking a break from writing this post and was reminded that as a member of Threshold I am exhorted to:

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)

Lord, I pray for those who think they know you but have lost their first love. They've forgotten what it means to be loved by You.  They've lost the joy and the passion of knowing You. May they behold Your glory and be renewed. May they fall in love with you all over again. And, Lord, it's only by Your grace that we can abide in Your love. I ask that You would give me my daily portion of grace and revelation so that I can remain in Your love, beholding Your glory forever!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Waves of mercy, waves of grace

Standing on the ocean shore this morning staring out to sea, I watched the waves lapping the shore as I talked to my Father. Each time I pray while I'm at the beach, I feel led to pray for God's mercy and grace, and His provision, to flow to me across time and space in waves, just as the waves of the sea continually flow towards me from some distant place which I cannot see.

I experienced God's power like a wave once, during a worship and prayer gathering at a Vineyard fellowship in the Maritimes. I was standing at the very back of the building and I sensed the surge of power coming towards me as the wave flowed from the front of the building all the way to the back. As it engulfed me I was almost knocked off my feet as the energy surged through me and swirled around me, traveling swiftly past me. I wish I could say that I knew what it was for or what it meant, but I don't. All I know is that I was dumbstruck with awe as I experienced yet another way in which the Spirit and the power of God moves.

So as I stood at the shore this morning praying, the  tide, which was going out when I first arrived, began to turn and the waves began to lap up closer and closer to my feet. "It's's coming..." I prophesied with the reach of every wave, and then suddenly the lapping water began to flood the sand around my feet. "It's here!" I declared, as it began to move beyond me.

A move of God is coming. We are only beginning to experience it as it travels steadily towards us from across time and space. It is just starting to lap at our feet, and already people are rejoicing and seeing visions and being super-charged by the power of God, as they meet Jesus, the Christ, and as His Spirit begins to move on their hearts, and transform their lives and anoint them with fire. But this is just a foretaste of what is to come! There is MORE!

We must prepare ourselves to walk in the fullness of the power that is to come. We must make ourselves ready to be used of God when His waves of mercy and grace flood the land around us and surround us and sweep us off our feet. Are we ready for this surge of power? Are we willing to lay everything down to serve His Kingdom purposes on earth? To be caught up in His train and carried along with Him as He sweeps through our land? It's time to decide. 

A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
   and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

(Isaiah 40:3-5)

...for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

Let it be so, Lord!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rabbi, let me recover my sight!

I was reading the story of Blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10 the other day. It's a very familiar story about Bartimaeus,  a blind beggar, who rightly addresses Jesus as he cries out to Him for help: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." It's evident by his address, and by his request, that He knew who Jesus truly was.

Because of Batimaeus' lowly status in the Jewish society of his day, the crowd tried to hush him. They deemed his need not important enough to trouble the Rabbi for, but Jesus heard his cries and told the crowd to call him. And then, as Bartimaeus stands before Jesus, He asks him, "What do you want me to do for you?" and Bartimaeus replies, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight!" (vs. 51)

In Chapter 10, Mark recounts several stories of people who think they see Jesus and know who He is, but who do not truly see. The first is a rich young man who is doing all he can to enter the Kingdom of God - according to the letter of the law. He's obeyed all of the commandments of God, and he comes and kneels at Jesus feet and asks, "Rabbi, what must I do to inherit eternal life." (vs. 17) And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (vs. 21) 

The young man leaves, crestfallen and filled with sorrow, for he had great possessions (vs. 22), and in his culture, his wealth represented God's blessing on his life. The rich young man recognized Jesus as a rabbi, a good teacher, and he may even have believed that Jesus was the Messiah, since he knelt in front of Him when he presented his question. But it seems likely that he was looking for more of a philosophical answer to his question, something that would "tickle his ears" and warm his soul. Or perhaps the young man was looking for a pat on  the back from Jesus for his strict adherence to the law. Any other rabbi would have been very proud of the rich young man, but Jesus was no ordinary, worldly rabbi. 

Then there is the story of Jesus' disciples, two brothers, who also thought they knew who Jesus was. They knew that He would be enthroned in heaven and they asked Jesus to give them the places of honour on either side of His throne. 

Although all of these young men had a level of understanding of who Jesus was, each one is actually blind to the truth which only Blind Bartimaeus is able to see. Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God. They all knew this, and yet they still did not truly see. Somehow what they knew about Jesus got in the way of their really knowing the truth. It's called "familiarity". And it was familiarity that prevented Jesus from being able to perform miracles in his hometown of Nazareth. The people among whom he'd grown up thought that they knew who He was and were unable to believe anything apart from what they already knew about Him. Probably there are many folks who profess to follow Christ who've attained a similar level of understanding of who Jesus is and assume that they already know all there is to know about Him. They have become "familiar" with Jesus. But there's so much more! The more we truly know about Him, the more we realize how much there still is for us to learn!

Jesus explained many times throughout the gospels that the Son of God did not come to be served but to serve. He does not call people to follow Him so that they can be exalted and given honour and wealth and respect. On the contrary, He calls His followers to take up their crosses and follow Him. To suffer humiliation and poverty and persecution and hatred, as He did! He calls us to let go of the security and status of wealth and possessions and trust only in God to provide for our needs. He calls us to lay down our need for honour and title and recognition among our contemporaries, and to humble ourselves and become servants to both God and men.

The character of Bartimaeus is one of abject poverty and desperation. Bartimaeus is not proud. He has no wealth, no possessions, and has not even a hope of being given honour and respect among his peers. He stands before Jesus with nothing but his need and his faith. I was in the same place ten years ago, and when I realized my need for Jesus and cried out to Him, He responded in such a powerful way, extravagantly pouring out His manifest love out upon me, that I was forever changed. He healed me and raised me up and gave me sight. Suddenly I saw the world through different eyes and I was so grateful and filled with love for Him that I would do anything and give everything I had or ever would have to serve Him.

Over the past ten years of being "taught" by the church and by religious educational institutions, the keenness of my "new born" sight has began to dull. It's become clouded, and the cares of the world and the desire (need) to accumulate wealth and possessions has brought about a slow decay. But as I study this text my heart cries out, "NO! This is not what I want!" I don't want some watered down version of the gospel of Christ that allows me to remain complacent in my comfort zone looking out at the pain and suffering in the world around me from a "high" place. I know that when I get entrenched in comfort and in security that comes from money and things, I lose my boldness and my effectiveness as an ambassador of Jesus Christ and I no longer care about the circumstances and lives of other people. I don't want to become "familiar" with Jesus, believing that I already know all there is to know about Him because the more I seek to know Him, the more I realize just how magnificent and vast and glorious He is and it only makes me long to know Him more!

When Jesus first came into my life I knew Him as the Son of God, the Light of the World. I knew that I had met a "cosmic" being, one for whom nothing was impossible. If He could get hold of me in spite of my stubbornness, He truly was capable of performing miracles - and He did. He brought me into the knowledge of the love of the Father, and knowing His love filled me up so full that I needed nothing else. Because His love for me changed me life and set me free, I wanted everyone who was hurting to know His love too. 

Because of my love for Him I was so tuned in to the Father's heart that He would show me the ones He wanted to shower with His love. He would allow me to see into their hearts and show me the pain and the darkness in their lives, and that would give me a burning desire for them to know His love. He would tell me where to go and what to do and who to bless and what to say - and I would do it. If I was afraid, I would still do it! And lives were touched with the love of God because of my obedience and my boldness. He gave me the ability to see the spirit realm, to see angels as well as demons, and because of that sight, and my obedience to Him, a few people were released from harassment and bondage. It is for this reason we are commanded to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength - because when we do that we receive His heart for the lost and broken ones and He anoints us to heal and comfort and minister to them.

It's a tragedy that in North America, so many of us who call ourselves Christians do not really see Jesus and know who He truly is. Unless we have come before Him, filthy and dejected, poor and begging for mercy, nakedly admitting our need to Him, we have not truly encountered Him; we have not experienced His compassion, His healing love or His transforming resurrection power that changes us and circumstances in an instant. Humility and desperation are the keys that unlock the door to revelation and grace and free us from our worldly or religious mindsets so that we can see and know Jesus as He truly is. 

Although Bartimaeus' clothes were filthy, his heart was pure. He came to Jesus with no agenda, with no pride, and with no ulterior motive. His desperate cry was for mercy, and His one desire was to recover his sight. That is my prayer today.

Lord, I long to return to that same passionate first love I had for You. I want to live and breathe and have my being in You; to obey Your every word like I used to. I release to You everything that hinders me from being pure of heart and fully surrendered to Your will. Even what little prestige and wealth and  possessions I have, I give them all up for You. Forgive me for relying on the material things of this world for my security. Grant me the humility and wisdom of dear Bartimaeus; I come before you as he did, a dirty, tired old beggar. And just as he did, I cry out to You, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" "Rabbi, let me recover my sight!" I want to see you as you truly are!

 Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:52)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is a response I wrote to a Facebook post written by someone I love. He was angry that a caring but misguided Christian friend told him that unless he and his family believe in Christ they are all going to hell. The response is addressed to him and to those who posted comments that supported him and denigrated the good news and those who preach it.

Father's Love Letter - Special Edition - DVD and CDI hope you all will read this even though it is a different point of view and written by a believer. I used to feel exactly like you do whenever someone brought up Jesus or quoted the Bible to me. It made me very angry. I felt they had no right.

I'm sorry someone mis-represented Christ - and Christ followers - to you. Jesus never condemned people - except the uber-religious ones called "the Pharisees and scribes". They were the Jewish leaders and teachers of religion and they were misrepresenting God to the people, making him out to be a nitpicking angry God, and that made Jesus very angry. 

The Bible says that God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. He's not some divine ogre in the sky just waiting for us to make a wrong move. He loves us all no matter whether we believe in Jesus or not and whether we're good or not and he wants us to be with him. Remember The Father's Love Letter ( Every word is from the Bible, it is truly God's love letter to us. But as much as he loves us, we all have a choice to make, and it has to do with whether or not we are going to follow God and believe in the one he sent. 

I know it's hard to understand this, and I would have been very sceptical myself in the past, but I have met Jesus Christ. He is real, and he is alive, and I have come to know the LOVE of God through him. My life changed dramatically the moment I met Jesus. Fear is gone, and so is shame, and in their place I have freedom. That doesn't mean that I am perfect and never do anything wrong, or that I am never afraid, but I used to live in misery and hopelessness and fear all the time before I met him. Fear of dying, fear of making a mistake, fear of not having any money, and on and on. Knowing Jesus has given me hope, and joy, and peace, and a purpose, and I long every day for everyone I love to know the hope and the love and the joy and the freedom that I have found in him. Jesus called it "abundant life" or "life to the fullest". That's what he came for and that's what he offers every person who puts their faith in him. He came to set us free so that we could know God's love. And to know and feel the love of the God who created the universe is such an amazing thing! I feel safe in the world now no matter where I am because he is with me and he guides me and protects me. It's not religion, it's a relationship, and it's real. I wasn't scared into believing in Jesus, and I wasn't brainwashed into believing either; he met me where I was in my misery and fear and he healed me and set me free. And in that moment I felt the love of God pouring into me. It was a powerful experience that I will never forget. And because of it, I cannot deny him or allow him to be misrepresented.

I'm glad that you talk to Jesus. He hears you and he cares about the things that trouble you and that you care about - and he loves you. Keep talking to him. You don't have to go to church to know him. He will meet you right where you are. I know this because that's what happened to me. And because of that my love for him goes beyond duty or fear or dogma. My heart is full of gratitude for all that he's done for me and all that he continues to do. Seek him and you will find him.

I know that what I have shared may anger the folks who've posted here - if they got this far - but it's my experience. God is real. He loves me and he loves you too – and believe it or not he loves Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo too. And yes if they were to confess and ask God’s forgiveness and truly believe in Jesus they would receive his salvation. And that's good news for all of us since none of us is entirely good. The Bible says that God forgives everyone who asks for his forgiveness. I'm thankful that I am forgiven. Of course God wants us to be good, but being good doesn't necessarily qualify us for heaven.

This is what Jesus said on this subject: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed. By believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For such a time as this...

Three weeks have passed since I came to Powell River. It's like paradise here, so many beaches and seascapes and mountain vistas, and so much wildlife to see - eagles, loons, kingfishers, hummingbirds, seals, starfish, etc. I've met some amazing people here with whom I've of one heart and mind - in the unity of the Holy Spirit. They run and minister at the Powell River Healing Rooms, and they have a heart for the people of the community.

I had tea last week with Hazel who, along with her husband Bill, heads up the Healing Rooms ministry here and she asked me what the vision is that God has given me for Powell River. It turns out that she and Bill have an almost identical vision! They're just waiting for God to show them it's time to move on it. I was with them last night, and some other folks on the team as well, and Hazel said something that impacted me. She said it's one thing to have a vision and it's entirely another thing to actually do something about it.

I'm incredibly grateful that God has led me straight to a group of believers who are on fire for Jesus and passionate about reaching people with His love. I never imagined that it would happen so quickly, but He obviously has sent me here, as Hazel said, "for such a time as this."

Lord, I pray that you would help me to remain sensitive to the leading of your Holy Spirit, and that you would also give me the courage to act and to obey when you say, "Go." Please break my heart for the things that break your heart and let me see people as you see them. Use me as your representative to everyone I meet in this community. Move me to do what you want done, to say what you want to say, without hesitation or second guessing. Let me be your humble servant, your handmaiden - not just in words, but in deeds as well - just as Esther was, "for such a time as this."
 God's paintbrush! Sunset over Willingdon Beach, Powell River. 
It really was that red! I was with my son when he took this photo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your mission, should you choose it...

In a few days I'm moving to a new community and starting a new phase of my journey with God. I'm heading to Powell River which is on the north end of the Sunshine Coast. It's a beautiful place, a real feast for the eyes, but the thing I like most is the quiet! I have a son and grandson living there so it will be nice to be close to them, but I also feel as though I'm being sent. I will be "tent making" - earning a living by working at a secular job that I believe is my next assignment from God - while praying, getting to know people and seeking God for direction. I'm excited! Your prayers would be gratefully appreciated.

(Photo by my son, Jeremy Williams)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

God's Unfathomable Love

Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, TheLately everything I've been reading and listening to is on the topic of the extravagant love of God. "The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus" by Brennan Manning - a book that has impacted me more than any other I've read so far - is one example. If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favour.  Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, The

A sermon by Baxter Kruger on Ephesians 1 is another example. It's a powerful and profound teaching that set my heart ablaze!

And then, yesterday, in the maximum security unit of a federal penitentiary for women I heard a powerful testimony that caused me to weep with joy Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Theand awe. I lead a weekly Bible study there and had a new woman join me this week. She was the only one on her unit that wanted to participate, and so it gave us an opportunity to get to know one another better. This woman had taken a life, and the day after her arrest and imprisonment, she knew that she was facing a long incarceration and that she didn't have the strength to endure it. So she prayed and asked God to come into her life and help her - and He did!

God did not turn her away or ignore her because of her sin. When she called out to Him, He lovingly came alongside her. And since that day she has been reading the Bible and worshipping Him and praying on a daily basis. She's had no evangelizing and no teaching except for a do-it-yourself Bible study she did in the holding jail she was at before. All on her own - and with the help of the Holy Spirit - she has grown in the Lord. She's like a beautiful flower that has been hidden from view until now; she's been transformed by the renewing of her mind! And she is my most advanced pupil because she's read through the Bible several times and been tutored by the Holy Spirit in the ways of God. She loves Him and trusts Him, and she told me that she has joy and peace in the midst of her circumstances - even when it comes to the care of her four children.

How amazing is that? How amazing is God's love?! What a powerful testimony to the mercy and grace of our loving Father in heaven. I was brought to tears as she shared her story with me and she told me that I was the first person who was able to understand what has happened to her. I am humbled by the privilege of being the first person to ever hear her testimony.

Thank You, Lord, for your amazing grace! Please bless my sister in Christ abundantly as she faithfully clings to You.