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THE FIREPLACE

fireplace

 

As I sat by the fireplace early this morning I seemed to have a million questions for God. I wondered why His power seemed to be absent from my life in these days. I wondered why the things outlined in the bible were not being carried out in my life. I know that I am not able to heal but I also know that He is. He is living within me yet I am seeing nothing. These and other questions flowed from me to Him.

I sat there with my eyes closed waiting for an answer. It seemed that only a few minutes had passed when suddenly the wood I put into the fireplace burst into flames. It gave me a start so my eyes opened and I stared into the flame. I felt that this is what He said to me.

“ Our relationship is much like this fireplace. First you must stir up the coals that are still in there from times past. Coals are the remains of the love that burned so bright between us. Next you add the fuel so there is something to burn. I feel like the fuel is time and interaction that is invested with Him. Without these it would seem odd to be still hoping for a fire.

The first thing you will notice is that smoke will begin to rise. This scent will be picked up by anyone within your surroundings. Not everyone will know what that smell is but it will be a sign. Next the fuel will ignite into a flame. The light that comes from this will be cast out from within. This will enable you to see the next step or two you will make on your path. It will also allow those who are close to you to see what they may not have been able to see in the dark. As the fire continues to burn, warmth will be released that will make a comfortable atmosphere around you. It will draw those who are cold and remember what it is like to be warm.

This is what you are longing for. It is this that you lack. It is here at the fireplace that all the questions you have in your heart will be answered. It is time to make a fire.”

 

Norman & God

December 12th 2016

AFRAID

 

37819432-depressed-young-businessman-sitting-wet-under-rain

 

The life I used to know

has somehow disappeared

The control and order in life

Is now replaced with fear

 

My confidence has been taken away.

Yet I still go through the motions

A part of me is dying

So for comfort I look to potions

 

Where is the God who saved me

Tonight while I feel this doubt

Is He still here with me

Or now alone I walk this out

 

He promised me He’d never leave

I will not be left an orphan

Guess He knew what He was getting

When He made me His own son

 

So by faith, I’ll praise my Father

and I’ll praise the 1st born Son

And I’ll look to find my teacher

Beautiful Holy Spirit, You are the only one.

WHO WANTS TO BE PICKLED?

Jams

How many of you out there like “preserves”? Who doesn’t like strawberry jam on a fresh buttered roll. Berries in my part of the world are strictly seasonal. So if you want to experience them anytime of the year then jamming or preserving them is the way to go. I decided to look up the meaning of preserve and here are a couple of examples.

to keep alive or in existence; make lasting:

to keep safe from harm or injury; protect or spare.

So nothing too surprising there. “Preserves” have moved way beyond that of fruit and vegetables now though. Every time we turn on any media it stares us in the face. The message is clear. Preserve yourself by wearing this makeup. It will take 10 years off your appearance! images

How about the various exercise machines that will preserve that youthful body of yours! Invest here so in your later years you will be able to retire in comfort. ( Life can be preserved ) Here are the things you need to eat to “STAY” healthy. This list goes on but I am sure you get my point.

The question that comes to mind is; “What is so great that you want to hang on to?” This was never the plan for us by our creator. Just read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Here are just the 1st two verses. For everything there is a season,

a time for every activity under heaven.2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

Many of us are uncertain of what may come next and so we drag our feet thinking when the time to die comes that we lose everything at that point. Proverbs 3 ( the book of wisdom ) tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and hold nothing back. Our end goal is not to be pickled, jarred, or canned but to step out of this temporary living arrangement and step into the kingdom where all our enemies are gone. Sickness, fear, hatred betrayal are all behind us. There will be no preserve advertisements or dissatisfaction with oneself. The only regrets we will have there is when we reflect back of why we didn’t risk our lives for the sake of love. Not following a path that is prepared for you to walk. Perhaps not taking the hand of Jesus and ending up in a place where all your enemies are.

All of us will die and that is for sure. Maybe today is a good time to reset. Maybe it’s choosing to die in the waters of baptism and being raised in Christ the one and only real preservative for us. Maybe you have done that already but like me have bought into the lies that a wise person needs to preserve your self and so life has become nothing. They are all questions that we need to ask ourselves. There was already provision for you to live for eternity with the one who loves you most.

There is a better plan then just getting “pickled” or at least that is what I find myself.………. “ Just Thinking”

jars-preserves-18579934 

 

 

Day 3 At The Well

wellwall

Spiritual hunger is very great in the earth at this time. People are hurting and hungry for answers. Some have come to my church and left hungry as there was no spiritual food there. If people are not able to hear me then they cannot hear what I am doing in the earth. The lost ones who are searching, come into our house and don’t find what they need to satisfy their hunger. The fields that are white and ready for harvest, do not grow inside of buildings. When I walked the earth as a man, I build no great hall for people to gather at. I sent out my disciples 2 x 2 and I am powered them so that their journey would be a success. They have only me to rely on as they were not allowed to take any extra money or clothes but had to put their trust in me to provide. They all returned full! The disciples experienced what it was to walk in the power of the kingdom as they moved among the people. Man has always feared the unknown and that still the case today. People are not willing to risk themselves for the sake of another.

There have been many groups who have tried outreaches and found no success. If you were going on a fishing trip, would you go without taking bait? Would you put out your hook with no bait and expect a fish to bite. Do you remember the story of the small boy who had a packed lunch with two fish and five small barley loaves? This was plenty of fish for himself but could not supply the amount needed for this crowd. When he surrendered his supply to Jesus and Jesus blessed and it became enough to satisfy the whole crowd. Many in that crowd we’re satisfied because they were looking for food for their bodies. If the food supply had of continued then those who hunger for food would continue to come. You must ask yourself ”what are you hungry for?” This is not what I came to earth for. I came to supply them spiritual food that they could never otherwise receive.

Today things are very much the same. People are “ministering” to the poor by giving them food and not giving me. It is I that they really need but I am not being offered. Often I am presented as the God who was, or the God of folklore rather than God almighty. I change not! Passing out hotdogs may fill their stomachs but it will not provide any hope for them. Just as you need me to make sense of your life, they need me both to offer hope, and to make sense of their life. Many of them have been taken in by people claiming to have power. It is now hard for them to trust. A Word from me through you, that they know to be true, tells them that I know them, and this will break through their walls because this is what they have been searching for. When they understand that I am real, authentic, and that I know and love them, they will be changed. Just as you were once overjoyed to discover that I wanted you as my son, they too will be overjoyed. They need to know that I am the way today, that I am the truth in this world of lies, and that I am the way to return home to the Father, the one who loves you most. So I ask you, Will the fruit hanging on the branches be left to rot? The harvesters truly are so few. The harvest fields are all around you.

DAY 2 AT THE WELL

 

wellwall

Oh how important it is to listen for me and you trust me in the uncertain times. As you know people imagine what I am supposed to do and then when it does not happen they think I have left them down. People have free well to choose and they often choose poorly and end up hurt. The deceiver would have you think that I am behind all the calamity and pain that comes in your life. In this way he inflicts the pain and breaks trust between the person and I at the same time.

The woman at the well at five different husbands and now lives with a man who chose not to marry her. Can you imagine the kind of pain but this woman lives with every day. To be rejected by so many men would leave a huge scar on her heart not to mention the many trust issues. Yet here she is talking with Jesus and has opened herself up Him. This defies logic but yet it had happened. Jesus demeanor and in the way he spoke to her were both born out of love. The very reason that he met with her was first   birthed in love.

When the church goes out into the marketplace to minister to the lost, what is the reasoning behind this? Was this outreach first birthed by their love for the lost? Was I sought out in prayer to see if I was doing this? Many times this is not the case. My children think I will love them more if they lead someone to me. When a person fails to surrender all to me, then my love is not able to reach all the rooms in their heart and so they feel they are not loved as much as someone else. They conclude that they need to attract my attention by doing something for me and then they will be truly loved. Sadly they never know my love in full measure until they surrender all to me. Others may also thing that they will gain prominence for notoriety by becoming “good” at reaching the lost.

I can tell you now Norman how important the foundation is to any outreach. All of my work is built on the foundation of love. In this way the outreach is all about your love for me and your willingness to reach out to the lost. I know people are insecure but this must be overcome, as you must be prepared when you go into the enemy camp to rescue one of the captives. Love is a powerful force as I am by nature love, so walk in it.

If your secret motive is to lift yourself up, then will I assist you and that? Will my child enslaved to darkness be used to build your kingdom? Always inspect the foundation of any undertaking and make sure it is solid. Unless you spend time in my presence you will not have enough love to share with others. I can give you enough love for you to overflow.

As for the woman at the well, the walls of the prison surrounding her heart were broken down by the power of love. You know what the Scriptures say concerning my word.

Hebrews 4:12 “ for the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, having between the soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

prison walls

DAY 1 AT THE WELL

 

wellwall

I am here at the well so to speak, to be alone with the one I love. I had forgotten what it is to come here with You and waiting on You to fill me with the living water that only you have.

below referring the woman at the well

What appears to you to be a chance meeting at the well was not that at all, but rather me being at the place and time that my Father revealed to me. I am who I am and you are who you are. Our Father made us both with great joy and great purpose. I know you feel as though you have missed your time but there are many appointments and opportunities available in one’s life. It is just a matter of you listening and then making it to your appointment. For the woman at the well that appointment changed both her destiny and that of her town’s. You see, not only was she a woman covered and crippled by shame but so also was her town.

The religious system of the Jewish faith had rejected and condemned the Samaritans’ and so hope for them seemed to be lost. Such is the time that you are in as well. The world has chewed up and spit out many and there are many more, who hide their secrets for fear of rejection. As you know, things that are hidden in the dark they will never heal but are an open gate for the tormentors.

How would you like to be one who happens to be at the appointment for someone and reveal to that person that God has not rejected them. Not only that but he has sent you there specifically for them. Would you like to be part of that Norman? A real rescue mission where the rescued are used to rescue those in jeopardy. You know what it is, to be sought out by the Lord, and how it changes things and also De-bunks so many lies.

As much as people say that they don’t believe, or care, they do. The lost are being tormented by the dark messengers of Satan every day. They have been convinced by the lies spoken to them that they are rejected, disqualified and unloved by me. We know that that is simply not the truth. It is time that they know the truth.

FREEDOM FROM BEING LOVED

risk-being-loved-500x500

My mind has been sent on a journey by hearing a quote from a man who knew Jesus in his imperfect life here on earth. In my journey here on earth I have experienced many things. As a young person I grew up in a home where my parents worked hard and we had the things that most children had. We took trips to places and camped and got to see more then many of my friends. The odd thing though is that I never really felt loved at least not always. My parents told me that I was loved just like many of us, but I perceived that receiving love was very much based on how I was performing. How we perceive things like love is very important as it is laid at the foundation of who we are as a person. If this is something weak, distorted or missing then our lives are easily toppled when adversity comes our way.

Since my perception of love was that I was not receiving it I was very needy and tried to convince myself and others that I was strong and did not need to be loved. So this was the lie that I tried to live out but of course it can’t be done with any success. I met a girl who was both beautiful and seemed to fill that need for love that I had and so we married. During the marriage I was faced with many things that I managed to avoid as a single person. With my many insecurities being challenged on a regular basis I became frustrated at every turn. I could no longer stay hidden and saw that I was failing as a husband and father. We had three beautiful children but again I felt I had nothing to offer as a parent and hoped that my wife could cover all those bases. Well divorce finally arrived at our home and my wife left with the children and I was now alone again.

Being alone allows time for reflection and I now was doing plenty of it. When I realized that being alone was a permanent situation I wanted to die. If I had not feared going to hell ( which may not be truth ) I would have done so. I remember one day in I was in the basement sweeping the floor getting ready to move out when I noticed a presence with me. I realized that God had not left me despite my many failures and wrong doings. I spoke out loud and asked Him why He was here when no one else wanted to be with me. I never heard an answer but really felt that He still loved me which seemed silly as I sure didn’t love me.

Well as I had mentioned earlier this need to feel loved was still very much in me so I started to seek out Jesus more as He had something I needed. Not only that but He had seen the worst of me and was still here and ready to love. How could I toss that aside. I was going to church more regularly but discovered that church and personal relationship were two different things. Church was me building friendships with others who had made Jesus a “ something” in their lives. As people we are in a constant state of change and so is our status with Jesus. Perhaps we will have a Christian Social Media site that with have “ Present status with Jesus”. In a public setting like church it was hard for me to receive love as I really didn’t believe people when They said that they loved me. I actually cringed when I heard the words and thought ” oh sure you do”, kind of like saying “ I love beer”. Perhaps it was this that kept me close to Jesus as He was my only source of love. I believed Him and trusted Him and so I could receive love. People I really didn’t trust and my heart was quite guarded from them.

Jesus began to teach me by His Spirit on a regular basis and we were like best friends. If I went to slander my wife to Him He would not hear of it. After I time I just stopped doing it as it was something He would never listen to. He did day to me “ She is not here to teach but you are so let’s work on you”. After a bit there came a change in me that I opened the door to my heart to a select few people. I started to visit a family who always appeared glad to see me. They too loved the Lord and really loved to see what He had to say in the bible. After a time another home open up and I felt like I was a part of their family as well.

I had migrated to a small church and I found the people to be like my real family. I so enjoyed them. It was a wonderful experience and I grew all the more as I was in good ground. Life began to expand and hope returned that life would be worth living. The kids came over on weekends and my friends would love on them which was such a blessing. Things had drastically changed since that day in the basement. He had found me and taken me from the depths of despair to the High Places where things are so bright and the air so invigorating. He even taught me so things about marriage and then brought me a wife that was more than I could have asked or hoped for.

Well I have traveled many miles since then and God has always had a home or two with people who loved me ( and now my wife ) and a place where I am loved for the person I am right now. In order to be truly free I must be open to receive love from my friends, family and strangers and there needs to be a dedicated love supply line attached to God when all three of them pour into you. I have such a line and mine has a valve on it which I control. I have made the mistake of cutting it back to near off when things happened that shook my trust in Them. Without that love flowing into my love tank I began to fall back into things like environmental control, self-protection and became a guarded person again as fear replaced love and lies became plausible. The wrench that opens the valve controlling God’s love is called trust. I couldn’t seem to find that wrench for a time.

This world and the dark ruler in it are trying to sever the line of love from God to every one of us at every moment of every day. He has more counterfeits for true love then there are hairs on my…. well my wife’s head. Much like Donald Trump’s solution of building a wall to create safety and protection I concluded that the same method would stop pain. I built one quietly around my heart thinking I was now protected when in fact I was now a prisoner. The most important thing in our lives is the ability to receive God’s love. Without His love we are empty vessels with many cracks and very unhappy. We often take solace in the fact that the majority of people are using one of those many counterfeits that the devil supplies.Then he convinces us what he offers is all there is. “Everyone is doing this so it must be right!” It isn’t! Freedom comes from knowing you are loved just as you are and that is what I find myself……… Just Thinking

Agonizing over Habakkuk

I wrote this a few years ago and recently rediscovered it. I thought others out there may identify with it and perhaps help with healing in some way.

Habakkuk 3

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[e]
able to tread upon the heights.

Even though Christian’s appetite is weak,

And his skin color is still yellow

The meat on his bones continues to vanish

And his strength is replaced with weakness

The cancer continues to grow and causes

Him to suffer great pain

Yet ………. Can I rejoice in the Lord? Do I trust that His strength will sustain us in this hour?

Will He again move in my life and lift us out of this pit?

 

Last night as I was going to sleep I heard Christian screaming. His mother exhausted from an endless shift of being mother and nurse tried to bring comfort to her son. Dad who is also battle weary from trying his best to lead and protect his family was with his pastor and a few of his friends being encouraged. I sat here in my room not knowing what to do. I felt like the men in the trenches who listened to the taunts of Goliath the giant. I wanted to go up and fix the problem but I felt powerless. Shame draped over me like a wet blanket So I sat on the floor and prayed however I felt like prayer wasn’t enough. I wondered if He heard me. My faith was waning. Then a bombardment of thoughts came to me causing me question was I of any value. Had I failed my family here? Where is the God whom I carry in this time of trial? Then I wonder about waiting on the Lord and searched out the verse and found this. I found more than I expected and felt like I was being spoken to personally.

 

Isaiah 26 Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
27 O Norman, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O son, how can you say God ignores your rights?

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

 

And so once again I hear the voice of my heavenly Father and I am brought back to the path of truth. Though I still don’t know what will unfold in the days ahead I can trust that the one in whom I have trusted in the past will continue to be who He is in the future. He is not a man that He should lie and it is He who is always good, always pure and truly is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

So yes I can now come into agreement with Habakkuk and say:

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[e]
able to tread upon the heights.

 

Friday, December-21-12

Hab3.17-18

MY ONE TRUE LOVE

Love-Wallpapers-love-33002117-1600-1000 copy

Well we are well into another season of weddings here in the Maritimes. My son Thomas was among those who made their wedding vows. There was of course the jitters before the wedding showing but once the ceremony was complete there was joy on the faces of the new married couple.

I think most couples think, as they stare into the eyes of their loved one believe there is no one else who could satisfy their heart like this person. They believe that this person is the only one who has my heart and for a time it may be true. Time has a funny way of changing things though. Initially there is great care in guarding this all important relationship, but then time rolls by and you begin to relax your efforts. Perhaps it is the money you need to pay for the new car that has your attention. Children come along and they require lots of time and thought and usually right now. The one thing that was most important to you both gets lost in the pursuit of the things “we need” in life.

Marriage is under attack in the earth today. Sexual desire’s outside the marriage are no longer things to be resisted but promoted. Sexual sin has been deemed not to be sin and has been reclassified as natural. The internet has made this particular sin to be readily available. Recently in the news there was a web site hacked that was set up for married couples wanting to have sex outside of their marriage. It was all supposed to be secret but opps it was exposed. Once our attention is no longer given to protecting the marriage relationship and having it valued greatly then it is doomed to break down. In my earlier years I was baited into becoming successful if I did this, that and the other thing. I believed I was not okay as I was but needed to turn my focus on things that “would make me” a real man!! Well as you can guess it lead me to a failed marriage and a broken heart. That turned out to be a lie that has cost me everything. Fortunately life was not over.

Many of us have the same sort of beginning with our marriage or covenant with God. We start out so excited in this new relationship and can’t believe that God could love a wretch like me. This is amazing! The God of the universe has chosen me, loves me, and He walks and talks with me! Oh how sweet it is as the late Jackie Gleason would say. Just like marriage we can become familiar with the love of our life and so we start to move on to other things in our life that we need. Perhaps it is the praise of people you need to make you feel better. Wow as I type this I am struck by that phrase, “ to make me feel better”. When we break the gaze of our God and look out there to find something to satisfy something in us we are headed for trouble. It may not even be outside of the church world. Maybe it is a subtle as needing to lead worship, needing to preach or leading the charge at a bible study. These are all good things but if they are being done to satisfy your own need then it becomes a snare to you. I for one know I have fallen in a few of these things.

Is your need to be loved not being fully met in God? Are you not being “made to feel” like you are special? These are things that I have struggled with and if I am being honest I still do then you are vulnerable to the enticement of this world. This covenant with the Lord under the blood of Jesus is also very much under attack. If your eyes are no longer staring into His eyes then you are in a place where your oil is running low in your lamp and it might just go out. It isn’t too late for me or for you either. Here is a scripture from 1st Samuel that may speak to you as it did me.                        1 Samuel 7:3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”

Lord my mind has pondered and figured out what I need to do and so I pray that you would change my heart so it’s one desire would be you and that my life would truly flow out from this, In Jesus name I pray. And so as I move forward with the rest of my day this will occupy my mind as I find myself ……Just Thinking

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