Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is: Represent
‘Your home may be the only church she ever sets foot in.
Your life may be the only Bible he ever reads’.
These are paraphrased versions of a very significant thought that has always kept me very aware of my de-facto responsibility, as a follower of Jesus, to also represent Jesus to the world.
I am to be His hands, His feet, His words, but, above all, I am to represent the heart of God to a world that has lost sight of its heart.
If I am known as ‘a Christian’, I will be being observed, even sub-consciously, by others who may not call themselves Christians (and those who do) and my actions and words, and my silence and lack of action, will be weighed up.
Unfortunately I have many times been humbled by someone saying, ‘Gosh, I thought you were a Christian!’
People watch Christians and, by their lives, they judge and decide whether or not they want to know Jesus.
Oh that we would be daily transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
Oh that our presence would be the fragrance of Christ wherever we go.
Oh that ours is the heart of Jesus that our lives represent to the world.
One of the first songs I learned as a Christian was,
I can hardly believe that I still haven’t publicly given thanks for all of the answered prayers and blessings for August. And August already seems so long away!
I am surrounded by September’s special flavour, fragrance and occupations…
Also, of course, last week there came such a shift in the carpet of Britain. Our long-serving, gracious and dignified Queen went home to the glorious rest she deserves and our new King has taken on the responsibility of the throne of Britain.
Within less than two weeks we have a new Prime Minister and a new Monarch.
I pray for them all.
And I thank God that He is ever on the throne – glorious in power forever.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth
does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
And He hears our prayers and works all things for good for those who love Him.
I want to thank God for these answered prayers during August:
That at the end of last month you answered R’s prayers and took the faithful lady home.
For the work You have done in me to forgive, repent, release and resurrect relationships in my life and for the healing this is bringing.
For time to catch up and prepare for the course.
For keeping S’s luggage safe and giving good homes for her to stay in.
For the service I was privileged to do and renewed connections.
For S’s smooth and blessed journeys there and back.
For over 400 lunches served in our small community over the 3 August weeks – for meeting the needs and showing Your tremendous love.
For bringing S back to the group.
For C’s MRI results being good.
For use of the car an extra day to accomplish many extra tasks
For good new tyres on my bike.
For inspiration to invite J to Alpha and his acceptance.
For another glorious family picnic in the park.
For R’s increased fitness and signs of growth.
For both T. and A’s hospital test results showing complete absence of cancer.
For immediately answering my prayer for help with trains- in such a blessed way.
That M is getting stronger and responding well to treatment.
That R had a successful operation and is recovering well.
For perfectly smooth journeys and connections for my trip to Ayr and back and for the special opportunity for quality time with my sister and her wonderful family.
For a safe, quality camping trip for the boys.
For a second blessed week with S.
For teaching me how to balance my desire to be hospitable, sociable and available, with my need for alone-time.
For the opportunity to bless K.
For the engagement and blessings on Z and H.
For working in J to answer his prayer.
For so many transforming, healing revelations of acceptance and abundant provision in the spiritual realm.
Lord, like a child, I notice only those gifts in ribbons – especially the ones I have asked for – but I want to thank you for all the ways that you answered my prayers and the desires of my heart that I hardly even noticed. Daily I pray protection, safety and blessing on all my beloveds and I thank you for all the ways that You do that, for all the miraculous interventions along the way of which I am blissfully unaware.
Once You showed me and my children that, on the bus to the party in the park – You showed me the bus that we had missed 10 minutes earlier (and I had been cross about), but which was now emptied and the place where we always sat (and were sitting in that spot on the next bus) it was all mangled and bashed in by a tree. I remember that lesson with such gratitude for Your great love and plans for Your children.
Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is ‘ROOT’
I was excited to see this prompt-word last night, as I had just returned from a weekend of a prayer ministry course, which is focussed on eradicating ‘bitter fruit’ by identifying the ‘bitter root’ and laying an axe to that root.
The person seeking prayer ministry recognises some ‘bitter fruit’ in their life – issues that they wish were not there, aspects of behaviour that are problematic. These may be very obvious ‘bitter fruit’ like addictions and uncontrollable behaviour, or more subtle weaknesses which they may even consider to be ‘just the way I am’. It is something we want to change, but seem unable to change – it has become a ‘stronghold’.
The presence of the bitter fruit indicates the presence of the bitter root, whence it sprang, and the crux of the ministry is to lay the axe to the root, in repentance, and then bring all the habits of resultant behaviour to the cross.
The bitter roots are our sinful responses to the painful things that usually happen in our early life. The root is not the event or trauma itself, but my response to it. bitter roots (sinful responses) always cause ‘bitter fruit’ in our lives. God wants us to bring these to death on the cross.
The most common sinful response is to make judgments on the person we perceive to have caused our hurt (usually parents, siblings, family when we are so young). We also believe lies about ourself, the world or God, and we make vows to ‘always’ or ‘never’… in order to protect ourselves from further pain. In our young hearts, we create the expectancy that others will do this same thing.
This weekend I enjoyed the incredible (but slightly scary) power of this.
I wanted to receive this ministry to finally deal with some bitter fruit in my life.
One ‘fruit’ was never knowing what I need or want – decisions were treacherously difficult.
Another was being tired and resentful – sick and tired – of always striving to meet the needs of others to justify my existence. If you asked me why I said yes to everything, my answer would be ‘Why not? I see no reason why I shouldn’t. They need this and I have time.’
I didn’t think this was wrong. I thought it was good; that I was being a good girl.
I thought I was pleasing God by serving Him, because ‘inasmuch as you do this to the least of these, you do it for me.’
But I was feeling very tired, sometimes a little sad, sometimes resentful, lonely and weary. I was tired from constant striving to please, and striving to justify my existence, in order to deserve to breathe and live.
All my ‘service’ was coming out of duty. It was a sense of ‘I’ve got to do this today’, instead of ‘I get to do this today’.
In ministry I got to the roots – to judgments I made of my parents, lies I believed about myself and my worth, vows I made not to need or ask for anything. Therefore this is what I reaped all my life. True to my vow, I kept my needs and wants hidden from all, even myself. True to my judgments and expectations, my intimate experiences confirmed that my needs would not be met.
I felt exhilarated seeing this sure recipe for suffering as a direct result of my own responses to a child’s broken heart. I experienced the relief of repenting for my sinful judgments and responses, forgiving my parents, forgiving myself and God. I renounced my vow not to need or want and I confronted all of the lies with the truth.
Moving forward will not be quick and easy. The lies ran deep and no matter what my head told me, despite the word of God, my heart now needs to relearn how to operate and feel in truth.
I know that I cannot earn God’s love. I know that Jesus is my only justification. I know that Jesus forgives all the sins I bring to the cross. I know that He came to bring life to the full and that He is my provider and He gives us the deepest desires of our hearts. This is the truth and it is the truth that sets us free and brings joy.
I know this in my head, but it is not what my heart believed, nor was it the motivation behind my behaviour.
I came out of ministry feeling like my operating system had been wiped clean and all the functions need reprogramming.
But I am also so incredibly grateful and relieved, excited and full of joy.
I shall take it easy for a while. I want to learn what His will for me is.
I really don’t want to reach the end of my days saying ‘Phew! Are you happy, God?’ And to hear my heavenly Father reply, ‘Well, you were very busy, Dawn, but you didn’t do any of the wonderful things I had in mind for you. You missed out on freedom and joy and on your true calling.’
The word says in Ephesians –
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I want to be vigilant to take contrary thoughts captive and watch for automatic patterns kicking back in, as I don’t want my healing to be snatched away by my own carelessness.
To be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
My first task is to meditate on this verse and spend some time allowing Father God to let me rest as a human-being and not as a human-doing.