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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Your Will Be Done...

Sometimes it’s overwhelming for us when we think something is God’s will for our life and then we have to wait to see if it will unfold…

I know what this is like…and at the moment I am waiting to see something which I believe The Lord has confirmed still yet unfold before me.

Maybe I should clarify…I know this issue will unfold completely in His timing…but I am still waiting, trying to do so patiently for the final outcome to be revealed.  I believe I have heard a yes from God in many ways, but I am still waiting to see what happens next…

How we wait during these times matters.


It is so easy for me as a person who can suffer with anxiety to become upset or worried with certain unknowns…yet I also know that this worry is not God’s desire for me so I try to focus upon His unchanging truths during times like this.

I hold onto scriptures like:

  • He works all things together for our good. 
(Romans 8:28)
Therefore regardless of the outcome or the actions of others, I know The Lord will work something good from this situation.

His plan is good and ultimately the only one I want for my life as it comes with His peace. Therefore if the outcome is not what I expected, I can still take courage and trust that He still has good gifts waiting for me. Even a shut door can be a good gift.

  • It is good to learn patience and trust in The Lord in all times. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I need to practice patience; letting Him guide me because this is trust…also sometimes we just have to wait because God does not remove other people’s free wills.

  • Pray and give thanks in all circumstances.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Waiting should draw us closer to God, praying for His strength to wait patiently and for His will to continue to be revealed and come about.  Giving thanks during this difficult time can be great for our attitude, as we can then focus on being grateful for what The Lord is teaching us through this event and retain some much needed positivity.


As I said, my flesh can pay-out on me during times of waiting for God’s will to be totally revealed.  I can worry and stress over doubts like, ‘Have I really heard Him right…and if I haven’t does this make me a failure as a Christian?’ I can also worry and think, ‘Did I hear Him right…am I doing the right thing by taking action toward this?’

If you too feel like this sometimes, I believe it’s okay, because although I don’t think these worrying thoughts are what God wants us to sit with, it still shows that we care about The Lord’s will taking precedence in our lives.  He sees our heart’s desire to live an obedient life where we do not actively stop His will for our lives…and I believe this makes Him smile.

May we have the courage to pray not asking for what we want so much, rather ‘You know my heart’s desire on this issue, Lord and yet I only want Your will in my life, so if I haven’t heard You right please shut the door…I trust You Lord, Your will be done with this situation and in all of my life.’

May we also remember and hold on Jeremiah 29:11 in times of waiting for His will to be totally revealed:  ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’ (Jer 29:11, NRSV)

In love, Melanie J



Monday, 29 September 2014

You Are Not Alone...

We all need to be understood.
In Genesis we know that The Lord said everything He created was good and that man was very good. Yes, creation was good and God and Adam had perfect, sinless fellowship…Yet God then said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.

Even though Adam had God and a beautiful, perfect world to enjoy, his heart longed for another human being to unite with and so God created him Eve.

There is something inside us which longs to be totally understood and accepted by another human being.  As Christians we have God’s completing love and restored fellowship with Him, yet we too still long to share our lives with people we totally trust, and to be heard and validated by others.  This is a totally normal human experience and I believe it to be the same for people gifted for singleness.

In 2nd Corinthians chapter 2, we read of St. Paul’s distress when he reached Troas at not finding his ministry partner Titus there, and even though The Lord had opened a door for Paul there to proclaim the Gospel, Paul had unrest and left for Macedonia, Read it here.

I have found that I have always needed a Christian best-friend…Someone who totally ‘gets me’!

It’s not always easy to find such a person, for indeed we are all unique, not clicking with all people and sometimes friendships with some would not be appropriate.  Yet I also know that God is faithful and will always provide people to walk alongside us.

I believe if it is His will for a person to marry, He will provide the right best friend for them to minister together.  If they are to be single, like St. Paul, they will have a faithful best-friend to minister with.  And even if a person is married to a non-Christian, they will be provided with a same-sex Christian best friend to journey with, which will not upset their marriage.

Life as a Christian entails spiritual warfare and God will always faithfully equip His children for the battle which includes having a best-friend to bear each other’s burdens without the fear of what’s shared being spread further.  A friend who will listen, encourage, at times challenge, love without condemnation and with respect, pray with you and hug you.

God will always provide the right person for us.  We do need to be wise and discern with His help whom the right person is, for it is not wise to be vulnerable with the wrong person/people. Indeed God is Good, always and He knows our need to be totally understood and loved by another human being and therefore does provide.

In His service, Melanie :)

Let me leave you with this song I love which speaks so personally to my own heart of how God knows me, this ordinary Aussie woman completely - so I can trust Him to always meet all of my needs.  It is 'I know You're There' by Casting Crowns.




Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sanctification:

Basilica of St. John, Ephesus, Turkey.
I love the word Sanctification, how it rolls off the tongue, has a rich Christian theological heritage and is also linked to Saints.

But what is Sanctification for Christians and does it matter?

In plain words, Sanctification is a journey we take as Christians where we grow to be more like Jesus…and yes it matters, even for people who dislike old churchy words!

Here is one I found online which is a bit more heavily laden which church language: Sanctification is the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.

We cannot sanctify ourselves…yet we must remember that our faith is an active 2-way relationship with God, where we retain our free will, so we do have a part to play as we travel through life and the journey of sanctification.

Exercising our free will during our Christian Sanctifying journey can look like the following:
  • Choosing to pray and being dedicated to prayer
  • Listening for God’s leading
  • Reading the Bible for correction, encouragement and direction
  • Being obedient to what The Lord puts upon your heart
  • Choosing to be faithful in difficult times, not just the good ones
  • Becoming less inwardly, self-focused and more outwardly focused, loving others
  • Growing in humility and a servant heart
  • Having a face that reflects Jesus’


Sanctification is not some church doctrine made up to control people and God is not a mean task-master who wants to change your individuality and take away your free-will either…

Sanctification is a necessary process because God is Holy and wants to transform your heart to beat in unison with His and this takes time as our natural state is a nature with a sinful bent.

The process of Sanctification enables us to walk closer and closer to Jesus, to become better at rejecting the world’s lies and do good, faithful deeds of love, for God’s Kingdom to reach others through us…

How is your Sanctification journey going?  It’s a good question we can ask ourselves, pray about and seek The Lord’s leading on.


Let me leave you with the song, The Face of Love by Sanctus Real:
Melanie :)


Thursday, 25 September 2014

God Cares..

I believe God sometimes speaks to us in the ordinary ebb and flow of life and we can sometimes miss what He’s saying, or from seeing His good gifts if we are too bogged down…indeed sometimes our own circumstances can cloud our eyes…

What did Jesus say about worrying or being bogged down in our own circumstances?

Jesus reassured us that God in all His awesomeness even cares for the sparrows, that He knows what happens to them all (See Matt 10:26-32) - that we are valued much more highly than birds, so we need not worry but stay firm in Him...

Today I was walking with my cousin and our children and we came across an abandoned duckling.  Now the last thing I need right now is a demanding duckling!  Yet when I saw some dogs roaming unleashed in the park, I scooped up the baby to protect it and knew I could not just leave this helpless baby.  We spent around an hour looking for its parent/nest and we even knocked on someone’s door to ask if they knew of anyone who had ducks. 

Right at this moment the duckling is sleeping in my bathroom, comforted by the warmth of a wheat-bag, in a cage borrowed from a friend.  I could not just leave the helpless duckling today with no mother…my heart went out to this baby bird…and it makes me think of God’s love and the scripture mentioned above.

I hear God say…your heart went out to this little bird, how much more do I love and care for you?

Sometimes we all can get bogged down in worry relating to our own circumstances…we can wonder why and even question God’s timing.  Yet God is good in all circumstances and His love is always unfailing.

I believe that when we get bogged down and stay in that place of despondency we lose our eyes to see the good things He is blessing us with and bringing about in our life.

The truth is; life, how it is right now, is never going to be totally perfect.  Yes, there may be times of great joy, real peace and love…but even when we reach that milestone or place we’d like to be, there is often another new challenge.  So we need to hold onto the image of the sparrow or in my lesson today the duckling, and have eyes to see what God is doing to bless us here this day. 

How is God showing you today that He loves you?
What gift is He offering you or giving you today?
Is your vision clouded due to feeling bogged down…do you need to clean your lenses to see and enjoy the good gifts in front of you?

For the record…no my life is not perfect right now but I am grateful for the gift of spending time with my cousin today.

Take courage and do not worry, you are loved dearly, much more than even my little duckling, sleeping soundly on a warm wheat-bag!


Melanie J






















Monday, 22 September 2014

BREAKTHROUGH

When I was born again I read Jesus’ words He spoke to Peter on the beach “Follow me…”  I could not help but take them personally, as for me there was no other choice…I had to follow His call…I wanted to follow His call…I needed to follow His call...

Similar to the conversation Jesus had early on with the disciples; So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:67-68)

I had found eternal life and knew it was with Jesus…so how could I not follow Him with total dedication in my life?

I did not know exactly what the “Follow me” would look like.  I can remember contemplating overseas mission and hearing, “No you must stay here with your children”.  I remember hearing The Lord to volunteer as a Christian Religious Teacher in states school and thinking… “Are you sure Lord, I don’t know much scripture?  But if you say so…” Then not much later was beginning Bible College for a good theological education.  During those years The Lord put upon my heart to continue with children’s and youth ministry and they were wonderful years for me as a mother and witness.  I also did some music leading at church and lead some choirs…I sang all the time, but I wasn’t that confident to sing solo. 

God gently led me to sing solo at church, then publically and then also began to give me some melodies…but I didn’t have a whole song and I didn’t really feel called to being a solo singer…yet I was inspired once when I attended a women’s conference and there was a speaker who shared through both speaking and singing her original songs.

But why am I sharing all this in this post…because it’s not usual of me to make mention here of ministry stuff here, as I never want to be boasting about me?  I am writing this post because I want to share with you some of the journey I have been on over the last decade in my relationship with The Lord, to give you some insight to the big breakthrough I’ve just recently had.

After my ex-husband left, The Lord continued to grow me in singing and confirming that I was anointed to sing for Him.  I got back into a lot of creative stuff that I had somewhat suppressed.  I even began this blog and have continued to grow as a communicator.

There didn’t seem to be an open door for team music ministry so I kept praying and seeking His will for my life and asking, "What do You want me to do?"  Some months back I decided to specifically pray and ask The Lord to give me the ability to write whole songs for Him, if it was His will…a little later that evening I did have my first whole song and not long later I had another.  I met a woman who said she could put music to songs (she played piano) and although she was interstate I sent her my first song.  My friend loved the song, yet two months later I hadn’t heard anything and had once again put music making out of my mind.

I had been in a difficult place emotionally having faced some online persecution, my dad’s death and also family stuff and really wanted breakthrough…sometimes patience is tough to practice!

Then on the 12th of September when taking a break from a massive assignment I was working on, a melody dropped into my head and I began to sing to The Lord; “You are so amazing…’ when I realised that this was a song and a really good one… Feeling somewhat perplexed I hurried to my room and around an hour later had my 3rd whole song.

I knew without a doubt this song was indeed from The Lord and that He was speaking to me…although I was bewildered with His timing, thinking that I had an assignment due and no-one to partner with for music anyway!  Yet later that evening when scrolling through my phone I saw the name of an old family friend who is a very gifted musician (guitarist)…his name jumped out at me and I knew that the Lord was saying, “Here is your music partner!”

BREAKTHROUGH.

I rang my family friend whom I’d last reconnected with at dad’s funeral, said g’day and discovered that he had been wanting to use his gift for The Lord, so was very eager to partner…since then the songs from The Lord have kept coming.  My new music partner and I caught up and we nearly have a whole album worth of music already…I decided I wanted 12 songs for the album as it is such a significant number…

What will happen next?  Only God knows and it’s my heart’s desire for His will be done with this new adventure/ministry.  It’s all happened very quickly, yet I have total peace with it…Breakthrough is amazing…


God is Good…Will keep you posted, love Melanie :)

p.s...If you're waiting for breakthrough...try to be patient and trust His timing for it is perfect!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

HOPE

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

And as Christians our faith rests in Christ and Christ alone.

Ephesians 2: 1-8 (NRSV)
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God-

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Hope has been on my heart a lot lately…and we can see here in Hebrews it is directly linked to our Christian faith, for our faith rests upon our hope of God’s promises in Christ – indeed our hope should be so firm that we are convinced, resulting in faith and trust.

What is hope?


1. Hope is defined as, a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. Similar to: aspiration, desire, plan, dream.

When we begin to lose hope as Christians there is a very real possibility, if it continues for too long our faith can seriously be affected.  The result of a person losing all hope can be devastating.

As Christians hope therefore cannot afford to only be present in our early days, rather it needs to be deeply permeated into our faith foundation.

2. Another definition of hope is, a feeling of TRUST.

Therefore with hope comes the trust. 

Trust in The Lord to work all things together for our good, (Romans 8:28) no matter what our current circumstances are.

But where does hope come from? 

Does it come from our own minds?  Is hope something we can self-raise with positive thinking?  Indeed our minds are incredibly amazing, so I will not say that positive thinking/dreaming does not help people…But I would like to remind you that scripture says our God is a God of hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 13:15).
Therefore God is the source of hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Now this is not some prosperity message, for we know that we have an eternal royal inheritance waiting for us through Christ, as our future hope, rich or poor, persecuted or free…
So hope is both aspiration and trust and the source is God.

I believe The God of hope can inject anyone with good dreams…whether or not they realise it and acknowledge Him is another issue, as is the trust factor of hope…

As Christians we can walk into wilderness seasons and sometimes feel although we haven’t quite lost our faith, we have lost our dreams and hope for a new season or breakthrough.  These seasons are real and valid, yet to stay in them too long worries me, because a lack of hope can impact one's faith and Christian life/well-being.

Our God is a God of hope and wants to refresh, heal and renew His children – the enemy is a liar and thief and will try to rob God’s children of their Father’s good gift of hope. James 4:7-8a says, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…’

So if you are in an excessive despondent period, remember that God is the source of hope…so draw nearer to Him, asking for His protection and for hope to return; for Him to give you a clear dream and deeper trust…and while you are waiting for your breakthrough, His peace.

May we finish with this scripture:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! (1 Peter 1:3).

In the hope of Christ, Melanie...

























Thursday, 11 September 2014

YELLOW

Open the eyes of my heart Lord!
God is the giver of every good gift, James 1:17-18. He makes the sun shine and rain fall freely and graciously upon both the righteous and ungodly, Matthew 5:43-46.

Creation is indeed a testimony to the One true God, Romans 1:20 – for how can one look upon the immensity and beauty and not see the creator’s hand?

People’s minds are darkened and dull ~ yet there is a way for our eyes to be opened and the veil to be removed, 2 Corinthians 3:15-16.  It is through realising our separation from God (our wretched human sinful nature inherited from Adam, separating us from true connectedness with our ultimate Father, the only Good One) and of our very real need of Jesus Christ.

We must call out… ‘Oh Lord, open the eyes of my heart!’

It is our rebellious, cold heart which does not want to accept the undeserved, gracious free gift.  Indeed our ears to hear and eyes to see are a gift from The Lord, Proverbs 20:12 that need opening.

Once they are opened, one is changed forever and cannot help but see and acknowledge.  Since being re-born I see Him and this is true living, I pray you will experience this too!

I want to share my reflection on the song Yellow by Coldplay – There was a time when I never saw Jesus in this pop song, yet now when I listen I cannot help but SEE Him…

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you and all the things you do, Yeah they were all yellow… Creation is both a gift to us from God and a testifier to Him.

I came along, I wrote a song for you and all the things you do and it was called Yellow... Scripture tells the love story of God for us and of His redeeming sacrifice upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins we cannot do ourselves – God coming from heaven, being born a human being, dying in our place, offering forgiveness and eternal life – what a love song.  Have you read Hosea 2:14?

So then I took my turn, Oh what a thing to have done and it was all yellow… Indeed He did take His turn as a human being, feeling every ounce of pain upon that cross – pouring out His yellow fluids when His side was pierced – Oh what a thing to have done.

Your skin, Oh yeah your skin and bones, turn into something beautiful, you know, you know I love you so, you know I love you so... Jesus was the first to resurrect from death as a proven sign we will too, like God promises in Ezekiel 37:1-14…the Valley of dry bones will resurrect.

I swam across, I jumped across for you, Oh what a thing to do, ‘cause you were all yellow… We are indeed dead in our sin, our skin is yellow and rotten, but can be washed clean by the blood of Jesus…He Has come across to us from the heavens, a visitation from the One True God, Luke 19:41-44…when He stood upon the water the disciples WORSHIPED Him, Matthew 14:33.

I drew a line, I drew a line for you, Oh what a thing to do, and it was all yellow... Do you know what it is like to be set free from your sins…like the woman caught in adultery who was to be stoned to death, Jesus drew in the yellow sand, forgave her, though she deserved it not, and freed her saying in love for her to go and sin no more, see John 8:1-11.

Your skin, Oh yeah your skin and bones, turn into something beautiful and you know for you I'd bleed myself dry, for you I'd bleed myself dry… Indeed by His perfect sacrifice we are washed clean, made truly beautiful and given a royal inheritance, see 1 Peter 2:4-5.

It's true, look how they shine for you, look how they shine for you, look how they shine for you…Look at the stars, look how they shine for you and all the things that you do… Pray for new eyes to see and a new heart to love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

We must call out… ‘Oh Lord, open the eyes of my heart!’
In love, Melanie.






Tuesday, 9 September 2014

5 Steps for Single Christians Seeking Marriage

After writing some posts on Christian singleness; Christian Singleness Early Days - 7 Truths and Christian Singleness - 12 Realities in May, it’s been on my heart for a while now to write a post for Christian singles wanting to form a new relationship for marriage.  

Please be aware everything you’re about to read is my opinion, therefore please take the time to pray and seek The Lord’s will for your own individual life/circumstances in relation to any relationship.  Even though it is my opinion it comes from my personal Christian journey and faith.

This 5 steps approach is not intended to be an in-depth discussion, rather a short guide to prompt Christian discernment.  To avoid being too long I have written in a very direct and broad manner.  If you are personally challenged by anything in this post please feel free to message me via echucamel@gmail.com or better still, print this post out and chat with your trusted Christian pastor.

1.  DISCERNMENT:  Actively discern what life season you are in and if a relationship is even right with The Lord for you.  Before even considering a new relationship do you know what The Lord has said to you about this idea?  Have you sought His will about forming a new relationship for Christian marriage?  Have you dealt with your emotional baggage?  Are you possibly re-bounding?  Are you still legally married to another or spiritually bound to another?  I am not going to discuss the theological issues surrounding marriage/remarriage but I will advise you to seek The Lord’s Word on this for you.  Don’t be a lazy Christian – ‘Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’.  Don’t do anything in regards to a new relationship until you’ve spent time with The Lord seeking His individual will for your life – don’t let your flesh get in the road of further maturing as a Christian and God’s plan.  Don’t be afraid of a season of loneliness for The Lord is with you and if you rush His timing you could just hurt yourself and another child of God whom He also loves.

2.  PRAY:  If you have discerned that The Lord has marriage in His plan for you that’s a great beginning – but personally I don’t believe that it means rushing ahead of Him.  Singles need to pray for The Lord to bring about the relationship He has planned – yes we have a free will but I believe that because Christian marriage should reflect God’s relationship with us, the right wife/husband is planned.   The Lord knows you better than you know yourself and loves you, so please don’t use your free will to enter wrong relationships – PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!  Even be bold and pray for Him to shut doors or snub out feelings if the possible relationship isn’t His will – ask for His continued guidance, wisdom and protection – better to cut wrong, romantic relationships off early in my opinion.

3.  PATIENCE:  As a Christian, single or not, we can’t afford to let anything consume us and overtake our relationship with The Lord.   The desire for a husband or wife should not be our number one priority – we need to learn to be content with The Lord as number one.  Sometimes the desire for a wife or husband stops Christians doing The Lord’s will.  Patience can be a forgotten Christian virtue in our instant world.  How many Christians today wait for The Lord to bring the right person into their life? 

4.  THINKING:  Okay let’s say you’ve done all of the above – you’re sure The Lord has someone planned for you ; you’ve been praying and haven’t been pre-occupied with rushing out to find someone – then a new possible relationship arises!  This is where you will need to continue seeking The Lord’s wisdom and will (discernment) through prayer, scripture and speaking to other trusted Christians and using your God-given brain.  The truth is we are much better at being wise and objective when we’re not personally involved and free from emotions.  I have heard a comment that went along the lines of, ‘We’re both committed Christians and want to serve The Lord…what else do you need?’.  However marriage involves a lot more than joint ministry – being equally yolked  as scripture advises begins with both being Christians, yet also extends into more personal compatibility. Remember that The Lord may bring someone into your life who is wonderful, yet isn't for you, to show you something you need to learn about who is right for you.

5.  PEACE:  Last point, okay so let’s say you’ve spent some time with your new Christian friend and have discovered that you both have some major compatibility.  Here’s a hypothetical scenario; you both have a heart for local mission, similar theological views, a mutual attraction and respect and equal family values/desires.  Of course you will still need to be actively praying, reading the Word and seeking wise Christian counsel to hear The Lord’s will – but I do most firmly believe that if it is His will you will have His peace .  If there is one or a couple of things which set off your internal alarm bell, slow things down so you can prayerfully and objectively address the concerns, to know if these triggers are valid or not.  If you don’t have total peace don’t take any steps further.  If others do not have peace about the relationship – take it seriously.  Being spiritually bound to another is serious.  Can your biological family or close friends see things you can’t and is this relationship supported by your Christian family?   Another person who should obviously have peace is the other person you are considering courting for marriage...equal conviction and peace should be expected when you're both Christians...so be respectful of each other's discernment.

(Just a side note, I haven't mentioned sex outside/before marriage as I hope you'd know this is fornication and not acceptable for Christians).

God bless, Melanie :)


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Bear One Another's Burdens...

A potty calf on a friend's farm my boys called 'Colly"
Short for the AFL team Collingwood!
Spending time on the farm was such a blessing.
We possibly all know this phrase nestled in Galatians 6:1-10, see below.

Gal 6:1-10: My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.  For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves.  All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride.  For all must carry their own loads.  Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.  Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.  If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.  (NRSV)

When I have heard this phrase quoted or discussed I viewed it as fulfilling The Lord’s second great commandment – loving others as ourselves.  While I don’t think this is wrong, for indeed Paul relates it to fulfilling Christ’s command in verse 2 – I am pondering how deeply we actually apply this defining Christian practice?

In my last post I wrote about how I am realising I have been in a season of excessive self-focus – perhaps I was becoming more like the person mentioned in verse 3?
This post isn’t going to be a full exegesis of this passage or an in-depth look either…I just want to continue to share my heart with you.
You see, I am feeling that loving the family of faith, by walking alongside each other, listening to one another and encouraging one another, enables us to slow down and actually fulfil this Christian duty.  I am seeing this in stark contrast to the world’s idea of leadership which is our flesh’s disposition – trying to lead by superior example, running the race ahead of others for them to follow.  Does a shepherd run ahead of his sheep or stay close to protect them?  Should mature Christians run ahead crying, ‘You don’t need to struggle, just look at me!’?

We know the right answer and this post may sound oh so obvious…but our flesh is strong and we ALL can get tired from the battle and we can slip (which makes this duty even more important).  If we’re not in a difficult season it doesn’t mean we are superior to another brother or sister, or that we won’t find ourselves in such a season another time.
I truly believe that God loves us so much more than we realise and cares about even the small, individual, personal little things we carry.
I believe this is why as His hands and feet, genuine Christian living is bearing one another’s burdens in love.  I am feeling a lot better now that I am not thinking so much about the ‘big’ things I could possible do for God’s Kingdom, rather relaxing more and letting Him lead me in loving His people daily; by helping to bear their burdens as they bear mine, whomever they are that He puts me alongside.  Investing in individuals I think resonates with God’s heart and helps me to be less self-focused and closer to Him.

I pray may we all slow down a little and better carry one another’s burdens, caring about the small details of each other’s lives, striving to love above all else as advised in 1 Corinthians 13.  

Be encouraged you are greatly loved!
Melanie.



Friday, 5 September 2014

The Heart of Christianity...

Sometimes I think we can over complicate simple profound life truths and work our lives into a place of such extreme excessive overload, we can lose the heart of Christianity…bear with me a moment on this, as this post, as always, is coming from my own experience and perspective.

I love the lyrics… “I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, all about You, Jesus!  I’m sorry Lord, for the thing I made it, when it’s all about You, all about You, Jesus!”

For me this chorus cries the humility needed for us to obey the 1st great commandment – Love The Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  For the heart of Christianity is a renewed human being, with a heart dedicated to The Lord above all else.

The 2nd is to love our neighbour as ourselves – So this is why the heart of Christianity is shown through Christians being selflessly dedicated to serving others above themselves.

The heart of Christianity is not about us – now this may seem oh so obvious – but I challenge you, along with me, to consider; how easy is it to live this out today in our post-Christian, self-centred, greed orientated societies?

I have only just realised that I have been in a season of excessive self-focus…

It happened oh so subtly and with me having good intentions.

After my ex-husband left, I found myself rediscovering who I was as an individual, daughter of God. While this was a very healthy experience, it continued and developed into self-obsession, under the idea that I needed to prepare myself to publically serve The Lord.  Now I’m not saying that self-reflection is wrong or that public ministry is either…rather we should have a balance and reflect upon whether our lives are truly living out the heart of Christianity.

I was continuing my theological study, yet feeling more and more overloaded and overwhelmed, and wondering why.  Even though logically I knew The Lord loved me regardless of my deeds done in love, I was placing burdens upon myself that increased my anxiety…I suppose wanting to be a perfect daughter/person I haven’t been in my life with others.  My personal Christian relationship became less focused upon Him and more focused upon me, and I realised this as my personal devotional time wasn’t what it used to be and that I had less love for others.  I was focusing more upon what The Lord would have me do, than simply loving Him, and being relaxed and open with what He may bring into my life…I wanted to know God’s plan which was all about me! 

Our lives have not been totally disastrous, for The Lord has been as faithful as always, carrying us through.  However I have had increased stress and anxiety and my children have been battered, become less disciplined, worldlier and also less happy.  Yet they also have voiced their desire recently to still be like Jesus and not the world…praise Him!

I remember before continuing my study and seeking The Lord’s direction, I believe I heard The Lord say, “Finish what you started” and this prompted me to continue my study.  While I don’t think studying was/is totally wrong, I now think that taking on the full-time load in 2013 was possibly not the best decision for my boys, as the study became my primary focus, over their Christian upbringing and wellbeing.

I have decided now to return to home-schooling my children.  I have done so in the past, and honestly they were the best times I have had with my children and the most fundamental for their Christian upbringing.   I have decided that I want to finish the rearing of my children, in the way of The Lord with Him…the time is short, and as a Christian mother this is my number one, selfless calling.

I’m coming back to the heart of Christianity and it’s all about Him, all about perfect Jesus being glorified – not me!  I know I have been somewhat distracted from what’s ultimately, my sole responsibility – raising my boys in The Way of The Lord!  I have been so focused on how I can be a light to others pointing to Jesus that I have forgotten that it’s not all about my efforts, just simple, humble, genuine Christian living where He gently guides.


I am remembering the simple truth that loving The Lord my God, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and others as myself is the heart of Christianity, and should define our lives.

In love, Melanie :)