Thursday, 19 November 2015

When God Says He Cares About Your Garden

You know those blog posts, you think about for a while, and perhaps even schedule and research, they are wonderful, but then you know those that just happen, as an overflow of life and who you are?  Well this is one of them, I hope what God's been showing me, ministers to you too.  (Side note, the photo at the top, sadly is not of my garden, but a friend who Stephen has been working for)
I was surprised recently when God said He cared about my garden.  We had gone to Glory City Church for the first time in Brisbane, a church I'd been hearing amazing things about and longing to go to for ages.  The pastor, Katherine Ruonala has written a book called Living in the Miraculous and it's been such a huge blessing to me about grace and God's love, and being totally rooted in that truth. 
Well, recently we've moved a whole hour closer to the church, and though it still took us an hour and a half to get there, it was totally worth it.    Before the services the team has a prophetic booths set up where you can go in and two people will pray and without you telling them anything about yourself, they will just speak into your life whatever they feel God is saying.  (If prophetic words, are a foreign concept to you, check out my post called, Have You Ever Had a Prophetic Word)
My front steps where I've been mulching a little bit at a time
and planted out the marigolds and purple plant I bought today.
We've since been several times and each time the words they have spoken have been so accurate to what God has been showing us and leading us in, such incredible confirmations of ministries we've wanted to walk in and closure to things we'd walked out of.
Well thrown in there was also a little word about gardening, from a young city chick who confessed herself that she didn't know a thing about gardening, and to just have fun in my garden, and listen to God out there and He would show me things even about the garden, and just to go for it, even if they weren't normally done in Australia.   Now I'm excited about what God might be showing me out there. 
We have long blank garden beds all around this huge rental house, that are either weedy or nothing growing in them, and I  haven't been sure whether to put time and effort into the gardens or not, but isn't it like God to know what we are thinking about and encourage us, even if that thing won't necessarily make money or we could consider it being a time waster even though we enjoy it?

The line of Styrofoam boxes under the back
deck, where I'll be adding my basil and
curly parsley. 
I've always had a herb garden at each house, though we've moved 6 times in our 4 years of marriage, made from these Styrofoam boxes from the vege shops, filled with half potting mix half cow manure.  I just spent a few moments in the garden planting out the five plants that I bought for $10 at our market down the street this morning.  2 basils, 1 curly parsley, 1 marigold and another purple plant that someone could identify for me perhaps?
 I love this dvd called Back to Eden, full of revelation that God gave a man called Paul while he was out in his garden, and I'm gradually implementing his ideas in our garden.  What has God shown you in your garden?  And remember, your garden is never too small to bring you joy and bless someone else. 

 Hey, and have you seen this herby word puzzle I made a while ago?    You can find a bunch more of them over here. 
Linking up at:
 I Choose Joy!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Author Interview: Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen is a historical romance writer who has taken the literary world by storm with her thick novels set in a similar time period to Jane Austen.  Her books are well researched and gripping as they should be for a woman who worked in the editing industry for 16 years before being published herself. 
My personal favourite is her work 'Lady of Milkweed Manor', a finalist for the Christy Award.  The storyline follows a young woman who has been taken advantage of by a mysterious man.  This young woman finds herself pregnant and must stay in a mother's home for unwed mothers where she finds a stranger from her past and discovers how the lower class live.  When her time finally comes to give birth she has to make some hard decisions, and not just about adoption.  This book follows her story with unexpected twists and turns for many years beyond the birth.   It was one of those books that I sat up late reading after putting the toddler to bed and hiding in another room where my husband wouldn't see the light so he could sleep. 

1. As a fiction editor, what was the most important thing that you learned about how to write your books, and the most common mistake that authors make?
Some of the most common mistakes I saw were: 1: The story not really beginning or becoming gripping for several chapters. 2. Not giving readers a “hook” or a compelling reason to want to keep reading. 3. Writers trying to tackle too many issues in fiction, and their story taking a backseat to their message.

2. What is the method you use for your historical research, as your knowledge of the time period in which you write is brilliant, and I especially loved the detail in Lady of Milkweed Manor?
I do research in several ways: I find books about the area where I’m setting a new novel, as well as about professions or traditions of the time period.  I watch BBC period dramas, look at old maps, old newspapers or journals, Regency-era web sites, etc. I am a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and take classes on various historical topics, and do research in England whenever I can. I hope this gives you a general idea!

3. How do you structure your day to fit the most writing in, and what do you do when Writers' Block strikes?
My typical day begins with coffee, checking email and social media, and then working on whatever is on the schedule for the day (writing, editing, interviews, research) until my sons come home from school. Then I spend a little time with them and since they’re teenagers, I feed them. A lot. I try to walk outside or on the treadmill every day. I get a lot of ideas when I’m walking (or driving). Motion seems to keep writers’ block at bay. And when I’m really determined to meet my daily writing goals, I unplug the modem to avoid spending too much time online.

 4. How do you plan out your books, or do you just write and see where the story takes you?
When I first started writing, I did not plan out the entire book ahead of time. But now I spend more time planning the books up front to help meet my deadlines and work more efficiently. I brainstorm the plot and write a few-page synopsis. So I know how the book is going to begin and how it’s going to end, and some of the major plot points, but not necessarily every step along the way. I’m almost always surprised by something that happens in each book, and that’s a lot of fun.

5. You used to work in advertising, what is the most useful thing you learned in that time that helps you now?
Interesting question! When I worked in advertising, I wrote a lot of promotional copy (along with other tasks). As authors we are asked to promote our books, so I’m sure that advertising experience comes in handy when I’m writing newsletters, back-cover copy, blogs, and social media posts in—hopefully--an engaging way.
Thank you, Lizzy! I appreciate your interest in my books!
Take care,
Linking up at:
Little by Little

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Lies We Believe: Your Schedule Defines You

I've loved the last 31 Days of October where a whole bunch of us bloggers took up the challenge to write for 31 Days on our chosen topic.  I wrote for 31 Days about Communion, really digging deep into it.
I followed a couple of other blogs for the 31 Days  and one was were over here with Sarah Koontz, where she shared quotes from great men and women of the faith, on beautiful photography and explored their lives.  My personal favourite of her series is when she looked at the 'last words' of some of the greats. 
My other favourite was Jessica Smartt writing about the lies that modern mums believe about themselves, their houses, their lives, their children etc.  I found this list so helpful and could identify with so many and I started thinking about what lies I was believing. 
One that I realised partway through her series and I've written about is how sometimes we can believe our schedule defines us.  There are so many great blog and life organisers out there, but sometimes there is so much pressure that we heap on ourselves to get it all together like SHE has.    It's not just about our schedules though, it can be a deeper issue as I discovered.   (Don't get me wrong schedules are a necessary part of life but forcing someone else's schedule onto your life isn't always the right thing to do.  I love Crystal Paine's website, she has great organisational tips, and she acknowledges everyone is different. I am on her e-mail list and she always has brilliant resources to share.)
Last year was a hard year, and not just because we were in a tiny rental where the atmosphere and neighbourhood was as stifling as the heat.   See I was trying to do it all right, as if that made me a good Mummy or wifey, or Christian.  Follow a routine to clean your kitchen, tidy by 9am, and if it wasn’t, blood pressure through the roof.  I didn’t think I was a stressed sort of person, but . . .  

I was trying to follow everyone else’s schedule, and there are schedules for a reason, I get that, but since I threw everyone else’s out the window, and followed my own it’s been better.  My own schedule where Miss 2 goes down to sleep between 2-3 and goes to bed when  we do.  Really it’s always been like that but I’ve felt like the ‘naughty mummy’ who just can’t herself and her kid together.   The Mummy whose baby won’t follow a routine, and the mummy can’t either.  All those routines on everyone else’s blogs look great, but it isn’t mine.   (I’m not saying my toddler is always going to bed at 9pm, it just works better this way right now, and probably it won’t in another season, but I’m learning to live in the season.)

It wasn’t just the routine though that sent my blood pressure high.  See, I was Craving Grace, and I didn’t even know it.    Like LisaVelthouse, the good little Christian girl who did everything just so, always tithed, fasted, tried to follow a routine, and hoping God noticed her efforts, and trying ever so much harder when it didn’t look like it.   She was even ‘Saving My First Kiss’, just like we did.   Then her life fell apart at the seams after one tiny little incident, and she realised she was craving grace.

Grace, it’s such a funny thing, so foundational yet so many of us don’t know what it means.  I’m still not sure I can exactly put into words what I’ve learnt this year about grace, but my sister says, the one who lived with me then, moved out for 9 months and now lives with me again, now.  The one I thought I would never live with cause we drive each other nuts; now that’s grace, us living together.  She says my knickers have loosened up a lot, and it’s not just cause I’m seriously living in my dream house, because they loosened up when I was living in a caravan at the back of the church.   They loosened up when I dug deep and rebuilt my foundations on grace and joy, but mainly grace.   Grace smooths over the cracks in our lives, like the honey flowing down over her hands.

You know how when you can’t explain something because it becomes sort of who you are, but you notice a different cause life changes a bit?  That’s how I feel about grace, like the Scriptures of grace have finally absorbed into my heart, Scripture over Scripture until it becomes who I am.

Hey, if you’re routine is sending your blood pressure through the roof, but it’s not really your routine because even if you get it right one day it’s still not right, then I think that you need grace too.  We all need it. My husband tried so hard to explain to me what grace is, was.  I never got it.

Destined to Reign and Unmerited Favour helped me to get it, they’re so packed full of Scripture, and dig deep into the context and Hebrew.    To understand my righteousness in Christ; I wasn’t trying to earn it by being perfect Christian Mummy Number one.   So if you need a way to breathe deep more, would you explore Grace with me?   This is Robyn’s Quilt Chat on grace, that I’ve typed out from a video because I needed a Bible Study that I really absorbed, one that you guys could really learn from too, because Robyn gets it. 
Linking up at:   Titus 2 Tuesdays




Saturday, 31 October 2015

How Communion Has Changed My Life - Day 31

When I started on this 31 Day Challenge, I was really quite freaked out about finding enough material to write about for 31 Days, in fact several times I wrote out a list of what I would write about and only got 7 days worth of ideas.  I nearly didn't do it, in fact it was the day of the 1st October that I decided to jump in and try.   The month before I had tried to do a pre-run and get organised and ask for testimonies so I would be super organised, and remember to take communion every day.  Didn't happen.
God has supplied me every day with just the right blog to write, and put books in my path to study and do chapter outlines on.  
A few things I learnt was that blogging really did require a routine. I needed to take Miss 2 out every morning and get her tired so that she would sleep in the afternoon and give me time to write.  When I didn't do this, the writing didn't happen, because nights just didn't work for me more than once or twice.
Spiritually I learnt a lot more though.  I am far more confident in myself in what I believe and why.  Studying communion has been something I would recommend everyone does, it's very foundational to understanding the Old and New Covenants and how they link together.  When you have that foundation and the foundation of how God sees you now, your life is built on such a solid foundation.
I feel confident now to share with people what I believe, where before I really didn't. 
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  I also feel far more stable in my doctrine, and that I'm not going to be tossed around.   
Ephesians 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning.
I'm understanding the covenant of healing we have with God so much better, not just that but everything we have available to us in the covenant.
Some of my favourite discoveries during this study of communion have been
and definitely the testimony from Robyn Small on
And looking into all the Biblical Methods of Healing
In August and September when I was staying with family and then had some staying with us, I was wondering what my 'next thing' would look like, in this new town, and God said He would show me when they all went home. That was my communion study, and though in a sense it's been lonely, because I've been focused on this.   Now God has said He would show me my next thing, and by all the prophetic words coming our way, maybe with my foundations solid, it's time to step into evangelism. 
PhotobucketThe prayers and supplications made were more than just empty red candy wrappers, they were the very blood of the lamb sprinkled and drawn into a blood line.

Friday, 30 October 2015

How Communion Takes Us Back To Basics - Day 30

Communion Back to the Basics

When you become a Christian or even if you have grown up in a Christian home, there is so much to learn, so many books you can read, so many tapes to listen to, and most of it’s pretty good.   I am prolific reader, and on long car trips we used to listen to a lot of tapes before the Wiggles and Play School dominated the sound system.

However there was still so much about the covenant that we are in with God that I just didn’t get, and didn’t understand the importance of.  How the Old Testament relates to the New. How the covenant was completed by Jesus.  How to discern the Word based on the cross.

Studying communion has taken me back to the very basics of our faith.  In fact sharing communion regularly should be one of our very basics, it was a foundational truth to the new church.   Some Christians have said to me whilst I’ve written this study that living their lives for Christ is their ‘communion’ with Christ and they don’t need to take communion.  Sorry, that’s not Biblical.  We were commanded to share bread and wine/juice as often as we think of it, whichin Middle Eastern culture is everyday. 

There is so much symbolism in the Bible between what was going on in the Old Testament with Moses that gives us a glimpse of what happens at the cross, like that whole incident of speaking to the rock instead of hitting it.  Why was that such a bigdeal?

And the Manna God provided the Israelites came down from heaven everyday, to strengthen and sustain them, and Jesus compared Himself to this very Manna.   Is there a key here in sharing his body? 

When the blood was honoured in the Old Testament, the anointing of the Holy Spirit followed swiftly and so did the Glory.  As Jesus blood is honoured today, it becomes a breeding ground for miracles and healings, one of the very gifts He died so that we should receive.  Stephen's aunty shared once that as a young man at a church camp shared about a vision of Jesus and His blood on the cross that He saw, the Holy Spirit came and swept into the room and changed her life.

There are so many basics of our faith that we miss by failing to share communion regularly. 

·         Understanding the difference between atonement (covering) of sin and the complete washing away of it, and becoming righteous conscious, focused on the righteousness we have in Christ and being empowered to forsake the old nature.

·         Sharing together at the table, a holy meal.  Even if amidst the craziness of life your family doesn’t share a meal together, calling everyone together for 5 minutes or breaking bread with guests brings a whole new meaning to family.  We discussed how to do that here.  Sometimes the best way to be enriched in our faith is to have everyone focused on Jesus and discussing it around the table.

·         Walking in divine health,  because as we’ve confessed our sins, the power of the blood and bread going into our bodies brings healing and prolongs our lives, as taking the Passover Lamb, which was a foreshadow, enabled all of the Israelites to walk out with none feeble among them.

·         As we are sitting still just taking communion ourselves, it’s a pause, the very word ‘Eucharist’ is a thank you, a refocusing on Jesus and away from our day.  The very blessings used in many Eucharist services in churches is based on the Hebrew blessings, which we studied.
Linking up with Arabah Joy


The Blood - Benny Hinn

In his powerful book on Jesus Blood, Benny Hinn examines blood covenants, and the symbolism of the first blood shed after Adam and Eve sinned, tracing this theme all the way through the Bible and draws out why it is so important to God, but it’s also filled with modern day stories and examples which makes it easy to read. 
He shares personal experiences of what it means to apply the blood around your life and other lives, and pleading the blood over your family.   He teaches about using the blood in spiritual warfare to set people free from demonic oppression and bringing purity into homes that have been defiled by the occult.
This book has been for me, a wonderful way to draw together the truths I have learned about communion and the Blood of Jesus, and it finishes with how the Blood of Jesus brings us rest, a truth that as we learn to enter into everyday, not just eternal rest when we die, can change how we live now.
If we try and make ourselves clean before we come to Jesus, it’s like cleaning ourselves up before we get in the bath.   Confess your sins to Him and shed your past, and then plead His blood of cleansing over your life, and renew your mind with what God says about your righteousness in Him. 
In these coming days the Word of God is going to empower the church to take a Scripture and stand on it and the power of hell will not prevail, we will be so confident in that verse, it will become our life and we will not need hours of prayer over the same things, one verse will cut every chain.  We are going to learn to stand on the Word of God for our every need and emotion till every part of us becomes like Jesus, and there is a quickening so that every man saved will walk in this without years of struggling. 
(Wedding photo credits to the talented Kate Dhu) 
You can read more about our wedding and how we linked it into a Jewish betrothal scene. 


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My Dream of Communion and Revival

The other night I had a dream about communion and the revelation of the blood being used powerfully to set people free from the demonic that have plagued them their wholes lives. In my dream I saw a woman writhing on the ground, and nothing I was praying was working and then I went and grabbed communion and literally threw the wine and bread at her.  She immediately stopped as though she were dead and then came back to life, whole and healed.
I’m not advocating throwing communion at people, but when we are faced with situations where the demonic is not moving, applying the blood over their lives breaks things in the spirit.  This has also been my experience when working in the healing rooms where we would pray as teams for people both Christian and non who came off the street for prayer.   I was praying for confirmation of this part of the dream and in the last few days I have been reading Benny Hinn’s book, ‘The Blood’, and he has had the same situations where nothing moved until he applied the blood, and the situation was actually physically dangerous for him with the person trying to attack him.   (I will be reviewing this book tomorrow)
Secondly in the dream I was trying to teach people, even other Christians about the blood of Jesus, but some were not receiving the revelation because they were deliberately meddling, watching and playing computer games that glorified the occult.  It was leaving open doors for the demonic to come in their homes with depression and anxiety and illness.  These are not always caused by this root, but it’s a good idea to pray with an open heart and ask God to show you anything in your home that would be causing an open door, and to repent of watching, reading or being involved in it and destroy it.
This part of the dream is one that I’ve had experience with.  Sometimes even watching  a ‘harmless’ children’s movie with the occult in the background can be enough to cause havoc in our home, until we repent and destroy it.   I’ve also had experience with this in Papua New Guinea where people have an incredible understanding of the spirit realm and I know many other teachers and leaders who have had experience in this area too.
Thirdly in the dream I saw people, everyday Christians in the market place who were suddenly empowered by God’s fire to start moving into praying for their customers for healing and giving them encouraging prophetic booths, to the point where people were coming to their shops for these purposes and the owners needed help to manage the flow of people.