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For His sake

“Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.” – Oswald Chambers

This hit me right in the guts tonight.

Makes perfect sense.

Forgive me, Lord. 

Tonight I am thankful for the abundance of grace and mercy poured out on my life by the One who came ‘not to be served, but to serve.’

What a magnificent example. What a beautiful teacher.

May I serve others out of that abundance that Christ has lavished his loved upon me. 

Philippians 2:5-11

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Everyone’s Waiting

Ever get tired of feeling like you’re constantly behaving, responding, speaking the words people want you to, rather than just being yourself?

I remember the exact moment in my life. It was a few years ago, and after much prayer I experienced a complete surrender and release of caring more of how ‘man’ saw me than what God did.

Utter relief. Complete surrender. Liberating.

But for some reason, over the past few months, that response within me to be a ‘people pleaser’ has unknowingly crept back in. Slowly but surely I’ve stopped listening to my heart, and begun listening to the voice of criticism and negativity.

On my morning walk today, I hit ‘shuffle’ on my iPhone and Missy Higgins’ song ‘Everyone’s Waiting’ began to play.

Read these words penned from a heart if vulnerability and honesty:

I know all the lines to say
The part I’m expected to play
But in the reflection I am worlds away

As I put my costume on
Eyelashes one by one
Been doing this so long
I can tie the knot
Behind my back

And everyone’s waiting
But it’s getting harder to hear what my heart is saying
Cos everyone’s waiting

“Just swallow and breathe,” she says,
“Remember this ain’t for you it’s for them
And all of those painful lessons you’ve had to learn
You gotta use them now or never”

Cos everyone’s waiting
But it’s getting harder to hear
What my heart keeps saying
Turn it off, I wanna turn it all off

When everyone’s waiting
It makes it harder to hear what my heart keeps saying
Turn it off, I wanna turn it all off

But everyone’s waiting
I hear that answers appear when you just stand still
But make it all, how do you make it all stop
When everyone’s waiting?
Everyone’s waiting.

……………

As the Apostle Paul writes to the church of Galatia:

10 Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant[c] of Christ.

(Galatians 1:10)

Who do you live to please?

Take a moment today to ‘just stand still’ and ask the question: “Who do you live to please?”

Joshua 24:15b – “…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Much grace,

Cath

Run the Race

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am constantly discovering new things about God and about myself. cath run

I’ve been on a ‘journey’ (my husband’s least favourite word…haha) in regards to physical disciple. I’ve had an awakening about what foods I put into my body and the power of physical exercise. If I were to be completely honest, it’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve done. My ultimate goal is to have a ‘life change’ in the way I eat and the way I exercise. It’s not just a diet, a fad or a phase. This. Is. For. Real.

It started officially back in February 2013, and it’s been an interesting few months. There have been times where I have absolutely smashed it, like running/walking 100kms for the month of April. There have been times where I have slackened off and lagged behind. Some days I wanted to give up, other days I have had incredible motivation.

Encouragement from friends has been invaluable, and sometimes the timely text message of “get your butt out of the house and hit the road for a run” has been needed.

One thing held me to reaching my personal goals – my destination. I knew where I wanted to be. I know what targets I needed to hit along the way. I knew I had to stay focussed on that destination. I also knew the benefits of my destination: healthier life, stronger body, more energy and confidence. Some days these things kept me going. Other days, these things pushed me to work harder because I knew the benefits would be worth all the hard work.

In my life – amidst all the distractions -Jesus is the one whom my eyes stay fixed on. He is the One who keeps me pursuing a holy life. He is the one who shows me how to live. He understood his purpose in life – no matter what the cost – and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I vow to, no matter what the cost, run the race of life no matter what challenges I may face.

Sin weighs me down. It distracts. It keeps me from living how God intends me to live. So tonight I’ve been reminded of Christ’s story again – everything He did for me to live a life that’s free from sin, so I am able to run this race of life with focus, determination, empowered by His Spirit to do all that He wants me to do in this life.

May I never lose sight of where I am headed, nor forget the One who called me, saved me and keeps me.

Where are you headed? What’s your destination in life? Who is cheering you on? Do you know the story of Christ? What’s your life’s purpose?

Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)

1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Much grace,

Cath

Waiting….

I was never a good ‘sleeper’ when I was young. Ask my mother. Night times were an exhausting event, filled with nightmares, trips to my parents room and conversations with my mother at 2am in the morning as to why I was wanting to cuddle into the security of her side of the bed.

I hated the dark.

Night time was my kryptonite.

I would procrastinate getting ready for bed (as most of my children do now), but for me it was in the attempt to postpone the night.

I have a clear memory of waking in the early hours of the morning, around 5am…and pleading for the sun to come up, so the darkness of night wouldn’t feel so all-consuming. I remember praying that God would speed up the sunrise.

Even the slightest light the sun had to offer would be enough to lift the angst, and allow me to drift into a peaceful sleep. (Then came the difficult job of getting me out of bed in the morning, but that’s a whole other story. You can ask my mother about all the difficulties there! Hee hee!)

There are times in our lives where we feel surrounded by the night. The darkness seems all-consuming and we feel helpless, hopeless, discouraged, alone and even abandoned.

Hold on. Don’t give up.

Keep your eyes on the horizon…because the sun is about to pierce the darkness with its glorious light.

Hope.

Encouragement.

Clarity.

Life.

God does all of this through His Son Jesus. The hope of all the world.

Redeemer.

Saviour.

Light piercing the darkness.

Whatever you are facing today, that situation that seems hopeless, that darkness that is consuming you, no matter what it is – hold on.

The sun is coming, and it’s only moments away.

Let God renew your strength today.

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Bless ya!

Cath

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‘Mum mum mum!’

For all you parents out there that know the joy of when your child first speaks – Isobel, my 7.5 month old is starting to say ‘mum, mum, mum’ onisobel cat head a more regular basis. It’s music to my ears because all we’ve been hearing lately is ‘Dad, dad, dad’, and as much as I say the following things to make myself feel better about it, such as:

 ‘oh it’s ok; dad’s easier to pronounce; she’ll say ‘Mum’ soon; I don’t take it personally; she doesn’t even know really what she’s saying…etc’

….deep down I was feeling a little down about it. Funny, huh?!

Well, actually, I’m not really that thrilled about it. You see, she only seems to say it when she’s distressed. Just moments ago, I walked out of the room that Isobel was in, and in her most dramatic voice I hear ‘Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum’. It’s never as happy sounding as the constant “Dad, Dad, Dad”. And this got me thinking.

I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels at times? We can go days without uttering a prayer, or making time for a conversation to God – but when life throws us a curve ball, when we feel down and hopeless, when times are tough and we don’t feel like there’s any way out – our attention is drawn to God and we cry out ‘Help!’. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this – God loves it when His children call out to Him in times of need. In fact he Bible quotes many times where people have ‘cried out’ to Him:

Psalm 18:6
But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. (New Living Translation)

But I desire for my relationship with God to be lived out in the good and hard times. In joy and in pain. How about you?

Much grace,

Cath

New Things!

New Year. New town. New church. New school. New friends. New house. New neighbours.

(I think you get the picture!)

Our lives at the present moment are full of all new experiences.

I’m finding it really exciting! Adam and I are moving in uncharted territory here in the Riverland.

The scripture I preached from this morning was Isaiah 43, and the verses that were really encouraging to our congregation were verses 18-19:

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

God is doing a new thing in my life, my church, my community.

Where things have dried up, become stale, or even have died – God is redeeming those situations and bringing life. He is making a way in the wilderness. He is the only one who can bring hope to hopeless situations.

God is sovereign. Restorer. Redeemer.

New things. Bring it! I’m expectant! My eyes are fixed on Christ, my Saviour; my ear is inclined to hear His voice, not the worlds ‘noise’; my heart is seeking His will.

God bless the Riverland!

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I Will Never Leave You

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It had been a long day. Isobel, my three month old baby, and I had just flown from Whyalla to Adelaide, Adelaide to Melbourne, then travelled an hour in a bus to Geelong to attend a Conference. 

It had been a tough couple of weeks. I was still adjusting to being home with a newborn, juggling life with 4 children, going back to work after only 6 weeks off, pastoring a church, and all that life throws at us on a daily basis. Add to that, a dear old friend had not long passed away, and I was deeply grieving her loss as well as pastoring my people through that time. It was a difficult time.

Needless to say I was exhausted. Worn out.

It was late at night, and after the introductory session, I retired to my room with baby Isobel to try and settle her after the big day of travel. I turned on my iPad, and selected Isobel’s music to soothe her to sleep. http://www.scripture-lullabies.com/ The songs on ‘Scripture Lullabies’ are not only soothing (and often send me to sleep), but the lyrics speak words of love & encouragement straight from God’s Word. I love it!

As the songs played through, Isobel settled, and I tucked her into bed for the night. I went back to the couch and the songs were still playing – so I sat there in the dark, stilled my Spirit, and allowed the words to speak to my soul.

Have you ever been so busy, that you’ve forgotten what it is to STOP. BE STILL. LISTEN?

Well, I did just that; and God’s words invaded my spirit. I took some time out, stilled the noise in my head and postured myself to receive something incredible,  These are the lyrics that moved me:

“I will never leave you or forsake you. Know that I am with you. You will never be alone.”

…based on the Scripture:

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Simple, well-known words. In fact, I had read this verse many times before. But that night – something was different. Something changed in me; and It was after hearing those incredible words that I had an overwhelming assurance that the Lord my God has and always will be with me.

Watershed moment.

Life will never be the same.