Posted in Christian living, communication, faith, prayer, Uncategorized

The Battle Belongs to the Lord!

Recently my grandsons were playing cars. Nate the younger, had close to 25 cars lined up against his brother’s one. My daughter overheard him say, “Ok army! How can we defeat him?”

 

We look and laugh at the illogical balance of power but how many times as believers in the Lord of Hosts do we sit with such a huge army surrounding us and look at the one measly  tool of the enemy facing us and become overwhelmed!

The enemy pits his feeble attempt to discourage, disillusion, dismay or even cause us to doubt the goodness of God, and we are overwhelmed, wondering how we can keep going, let alone overcome.

It is time to realize the authority we have as believers in the God who measures the Universe in the palm of His hand! The Universe in the Palm of His Hand! Think about that for a moment and wonder that your seemingly overwhelming problem has already drawn His attention and you can lean in to your loving Father, Friend, Lover and He hears you!

I struggle too and feel overwhelmed but really it is only the tactics of intimidation the enemy uses and our own ignorance as we fail to see those who surround us: The heavenly hosts; the witnesses that have gone before us and our Heavenly Father and Saviour Jesus who sits at His Father’s right hand, cheering us on and interceding for us before the throne.

If God is for us, who can be against us! He has this! He has us! Let us not be overwhelmed and ask, “How can we defeat him?” The Battle Belongs to the Lord. We are His and He is ours.  Walk in that knowledge today!

Blessings until next time

Narelle

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Praying in Power

Prayer definition: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. An earnest hope or wish.

Oh! I think of prayer in so many more terms than this! Supplication – the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Petitioning: make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause. Other words that spring to mind are desperate, faith-filled, answered, persistent, connection, love, hope, and faith.

I have always understood prayer from my early years when I cried desperately to “God” to help me before I actually met Him. I cried out often as a young believer for His wisdom for situations; His guidance in my life; for the man I was to marry: for the children He blessed me with and those who don’t know Him personally; for situations of deliverance and healing for many around me who needed miracles! It is the breath of my life as a believer.

However, it is not easy.  I have struggled with regular prayer times or with praying consistently or even knowing how to pray in situations.

This isn’t a study in prayer: That is for a book or indeed many books! This is just an encouragement to pray; to cry out to our Creator, Father, Friend, Lord; to communicate with the Maker of Heaven and Earth! With the One who knows you and those around you so intimately. It is my heart communicating with His Heart! I have seen so many testimonies and answers from the power of prayer!

As a child I was what I would call persistent, others would call it petulant! Either way I was determined to get my own way! It was an unpleasant quality in many ways but as I have grown older that persistence and inability to accept certain things is something I am thankful for. There are certain things I will not give up on!

My family; my friends; those who have been under our ministry and in our lives; the many issues I see surrounding me that cause me to grieve as it does the Father; for leaders of our nations; for fellow believers; for non-believers; for harvesters for the harvest field; and the list goes on! We have so many things to pray and believe for.

Some question that we even need to pray saying everything is preordained by God anyway. However, He tells me that we are co-workers with Him! That working together comes together as we believe the promises of God and pray for those things He has instructed us to: Like Abraham believing for what he couldn’t see!

I see how prayer has saved the lives of my daughter and grandchild facing severe illnesses, and other tragic situations within our family. Not everything goes as I think it will or I think it should, but ultimately, I believe it will all work together for good!!!

I call and He says He hears and answers! I never speak to the Universe! I speak to the Creator of the Universe! Much more powerful!

However, as I said I have struggled at various times with not being regular or consistent enough in my “prayer times”. So hear are a few tips to staying in an attitude of prayer ALL the TIME!

  1. FINDING TIME  AND A PLACE -There are definite times of seeking God including fasting and devouring the Word of God but we shouldn’t be under condemnation if that time includes walking along the beach, sitting in your car (take care driving with this one), under your breath even in the shopping mall (they just think you might be on your phone or from another country as you pray in tongues!) and the list goes on! We should not be legalistic enough believing that there is a certain time or place that HAS to occur. However, finding a “war room or space” in your home and a time that works for you, is still an important aspect of prayer. Don’t get bogged down in details of where and when, just start and start again when life overwhelms you!
  2. WHAT TO PRAY FOR – Recently I heard a young woman speak of how her mother has been an inspiration to her as a young mum in the area of prayer and explained how she prays. She sets aside each day particularly to pray for certain things – e.g. as she is home doing house work she prays. At work she will pray for her colleagues and those around her etc. So she covers a lot of spiritual ground in her week! A prayer journal will help with this and also help you keep track as you see God working situations out before your eyes. It will also help you maintain focus and faith as time works those answers out! There are so many words in the Scripture we are told to pray for: boldness; the labourers to go into the harvest field; leaders etc that we will rarely have trouble filling time in! This doesn’t include the times of prayer reflection where we are not petitioning God for anything other than just to bask in the  presence of the Father – a wonderful place to be.
  3. HOW SHOULD I PRAY?  So many think of praying as the “Lord’s prayer” only. That was just a format not necessarily a chant we need to recite and then walk away feeling as though we have down our “bit”. Prayer is a much more intimate moment than that. The Lord’s Prayer is powerful and does set the form work for pouring in to it amazing prayer times. But there are so many forms of prayer including prayers of warfare, intercessory, supplication, thankfulness, laments, forgiveness prayers; praying the Word and Promises of God and the list goes on. There is also the power of praying in tongues which sometimes will leave you groaning with such deep sorrow in your spirit. There are many types so don’t become religious in form, but let it come out of relationship with our Lord and Saviour! Be honest to Him and yourself! He is your Heavenly Father and longs for relationship with you!
  4. HOW LONG SHOULD I KEEP ASKING – As long as it takes and then some! I have been waiting over 20 years to see the fulfillment of promises I have been praying and believing for. Pray without ceasing! Persistence in a situation will see a resolution one way or the other. Never give up! You shouldn’t see what you see – You need to see what God sees! This is not denial – It is speaking faith! Don’t let the enemy take from you. He comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus came to give you abundant life! Never give him ground that belongs to you! You are a mother a grandmother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister – so many need you to stand with them as a warrior woman. You need to find your place of peace in so many situations. Never give up! Be like the might man of David, whose hand, while fighting for a lentil field became frozen to his sword! Don’t give up until you see the victory come to pass! Be like the persistent woman and the unrighteous judge! Keep calling until that door comes open!
  5. PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – I was blessed as a new believer to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues just days after I became a born again believer. This was His power flowing through me; rivers of living water, compelling me to pray at different times when I didn’t know who or what I was actually praying for at the time. Some of these were life saving events that I eventually found out about! You just need to ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit – the Comforter, the Promise; The same Power that Raised Christ from the Dead!

Lord I pray over this article, that the many who read will become so enthused to seek Your face through prayer, and see the power of God unleashed into situations they are facing and may they see the victory come to pass. That they will see you as Abba (Daddy) Father – In Jesus Name – Amen!

Enjoy your prayer adventure about to unfold before you as you look to the Lover of your Soul and begin to commune with Him in a new way!

Blessings Until next time

Narelle

PS I would love to hear from you: your struggles; your answers; your praise points. Your testimony could help others!father cradling a child

Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, travel, Uncategorized

Achieving Goals – Change Now!

Again I wrote this in 2015 but still as relevant today two years later!! It doesn’t have to be the New Year to start to change your life!

The way to achieving your goals – START

I saw a great post the other day that basically said , “In 2015 I am going to complete the goals I set in 2014 that I didn’t finish in 2013 that I had set in 2012 etc”

How many of us do that? Set goals and then life gets in the way and bang before you know it the year has flown and nothing has been done to get you toward your goal. We should say we are setting up our good intentions!

One day a few years ago when I was jalking (jog-walking) along the beach I noticed something about focus.

As I headed up the beach I kept my eyes focused on a cliff that overshadows the beach area. Whenever I stayed focus, I could look behind me and see my footprints in the sand were fairly straight. When I strayed in thought and started to wander off , I could look behind and see my foot prints straying all over the place. I was still heading the right direction but I was deviating off course considerably without noticing.

I realized how important focus was to not waste time or energy or direction.

Last year was one of those years. As a couple we had determined a few goals. However, immediately, I became sick in the first few weeks of the year and was flat on my back. I read a book by an old missionary, Praying Hyde. It was inspiring to hear of the amount of prayer this faithful intercessor did: Praying all night, for hours, for days. I was inspired and determined. Things were going to change.

I set myself to focus on prayer, fasting and studying the Word. The days turned to weeks, turned to nearly 2 months. In that time I can honestly say I really didn’t “feel” like I had broken through to any great degree yet within a couple of days I was amazed how quickly God moved. One of those areas was for Paul to get work he loved and opportunities to open up before us.

We shouldn’t have been but we were surprised when literally a day after praying that way the phone rang and he was asked to go to the Philippines to help with the rebuild after Typhoon Yolanda.

He headed off while I planned to go to him after getting a few things sorted in Australia. Then a few weeks after that we received some very challenging news – our grandson Josiah had the leukaemia he had been in remission from, return. It was a blow to us all but our daughter told us to continue to make plans to go thinking they had another 2 years left of chemotherapy. However, a few weeks later it became evident the cancer was not going into remission as well as the doctors liked, enough to say it would never come back.

Bone marrow was really the only option in the natural to follow up on for him to survive – in the natural.

In the spirit we continued to believe that as his name says, Healed by Jehovah. Josiah was an amazing little trooper and literally from March through to October his life and the family’s life revolved around hospitals and doctors. For a 4 year old he was inspirational!

As I reflect on just what goals I set myself during that time of prayer I realize just how much we did achieve what we set out to do despite the challenges and forced change of direction!

Reflecting on goals these are my 5 steps to achieving them in 2015

  • Check your progress.

One of the keys to setting goals is to look behind.  Watch just how far your footprints have deviated off course or stayed on course depending on your focus.

  • Celebrate the victories along the way.

One of my goals was to lose 20 Kilos by Dec 2014. I managed 17. Am I unhappy with that? Of course not but I am still inspired to complete my goal this year and in fact need to add another 5kg on to that amount to achieve my final goal weight.

  • Be realistic.

A building has to have a plan, projections, a budget, a time frame and resources to see it happen. A plan doesn’t happen just by writing it down but that is the start and you need to start. Be realistic in terms of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve. But by the same token – dream big. 

  • Let go.

  If it turns out you didn’t really want to do or become something, be prepared to let it go. Keeping on keeping on for the reason of staying the course is senseless. 

  • Don’t Give Up or In.

 Just as important as step 4 is to keep moving forward despite road blocks and humps. Despite life’s challenges goals can be achieved they just might look a little different or be on a different time line.

The Chinese are calling this the year of the sheep…We proclaim it the year of the Lord’s favour. As you wait on the Lord you will be successful in all you do!  Let’s get started. Blessed in 2015….

Now that I look back over that year I am in such amazement at just what that year produced…more on that later!

 

 

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Achieving my goal to walk every day! Something I struggled hard to achieve after years of inactivity. 
Posted in Christian living, Life, Love, Marriage, sexual issues, Uncategorized

A Good Marriage Does Good Like Medicine

I wrote this at 39 years married. We are now approaching 42 years! I wrote this blog in health and wellness for a reason. Having a healthy marriage can improve the health of people – note I say healthy; as a sick marriage can cause some major health issues, both physically and emotionalley. Here are my thoughts on maintaining a healthy marriage.

I think if you have a good marriage you are less prone to many of the other stresses of life which cause dis-ease and sickness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I am not saying that married couples are healthier than singles I am just saying that being in a happy relationship is definitely a healthy way to live.

Someone asked me the other day what did we do to have a good marriage?

I had to stop and think about it. There are quite a few answers to that one but I guess the first one comes from what I carried down the aisle on our wedding day 39 years ago instead of the traditional wedding bouquet – A Bible. A bunch of flowers is lovely but are a bit like some expectations after the wedding – Nice for a day but die quickly thereafter. I wanted something that would reflect what I wanted from my entire marriage not just the wedding day…a foundation of Truth.

We had decided that at the very outset, the Word of God was our foundation. We also really only sang one song during our service – Turn your eyes upon Jesus which is what we have done over the 39 years (41 now).

Has it been easy? No. Have there been tears – on both sides? Absolutely! Have there been fights? For sure! Has there been anger? Of course! Has there been love? Lots!  Fun? Insane amounts!

We never started off on an easy footing. We were both young. I was 17. He was 20. We were dirt poor. We both carried incredible baggage. We were both insecure in many areas. We both were determined – in good and bad ways. We both loved the Lord.

There have been some really hard times where divorce could have been an easy out. I guess I was particularly proud and determined not to have my parents and others say, “I told you, you were too young.” I was also determined that the enemy would not have his way in destroying yet another marriage.

I believe the enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy two institutions ordained of God for millennia – marriage and the church. So we did not want to be a statistic and we have fought hard to keep our marriage together and strong.

I also know we are often our own worst enemies, desiring our own ways, living for ourselves and not desiring the best for others above our own needs. This spells disaster to any relationship.

There have been a lot of learning experiences but these would be my top 10 steps if applied, for a relationship to survive .

  1. Keep Christ number ONE – by being in relationship with Him and keeping the Word of God as your guide and praying together. We always say to each other there is Someone we love more than the other. He is our #1.
  2. Forgive, forgive, forgive, Keep short accounts – 1 Corinthians 13 saved our 4 year old marriage when I realized I didn’t ‘love’ my husband anymore – meaning I didn’t feel like I loved him. I had to learn what true love is. I learned not to keep a record of wrongs…more on that in a later blog. Never forget; You are not perfect – neither is your partner!
  3. No/Know you can’t change the other person – you can only change yourself and how you behave or react.
  4. Give 100% without expecting anything back – When you give with that kind of love you will receive it back. I know we are told it is a 50:50 arrangement but when you only give 50% there are bound to be some issues down the track.
  5. On the same token – love yourself – Don’t neglect yourself and become a doormat. Know what you want and express that as well. Don’t lose yourself in the other person.
  6. Communication is a must. Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner – we are not all the same and have different ways to express ourselves.
  7. Keep passion alive – This is a blog in itself..but if you lose the passion in your relationship you set yourselves up for looking elsewhere for excitement. After the kids leave home the two of you are left and that is a lot of years looking at each other if you don’t find fulfillment in each other anymore. Don’t let the kids and life, dictate your passion. Fall in love with each other frequently.
  8. Keep intimacy alive – different to passion…Non-sexual touch and kind words are important. Learn to do things you like together.
  9. Be kind to one another – Spiteful, critical, demeaning words do damage and are hard to take back.
  10. Keep humour alive in a marriage – have fun! Life is hard enough without losing your ability to laugh at yourselves and the situations you face together as a family.

Keeping your marriage healthy and fun will aid a long way to keeping you each healthy. So plan to make this year a turning point in your marriage and enjoy the experience.

 

Until next time

Narelle

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Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!
Posted in grandparenting, Life, Parenthood

Stab to the Heart

The blessing of grandparenting can never be underestimated! I remember our old Pastor and father in the faith Norm Smallcombe saying that grandparenting was better than parenting. I could never imagine that being the case as I sooo loved being a mum. But I will never forget the moment I met our first grandbaby girl. Mickey was nearly 8 months before we saw her as we were living overseas at the time of her birth. She was amazing having the sweetest, most gentle nature. She was just getting a few words out and as her mum, my daughter, Sherri was undergoing tests and hospital rounds at the time, Mickey and I become fast buddies.

I was experiencing burnout at the time and very fragile. My recharge for my emotional batteries was time with family. Mickey was marvelous at helping that healing process. We sat, chatted, played with hoses and I helped teach her to walk. She was a delight to watch as her new cousin/sister Amiee entered the world. She was very protect and in awe of the new arrival. Our little Amiee Jessica Rose with the rosebud lips! My heart was so full with the first of these favourite grandbabies arriving on the scene.

I will never forget my heart break as the newly toddling toddler tried to follow me down the escalator to the waiting plane to take me back overseas. Talk about stab to the heart!

But we were privileged and I don’t use this word lightly as many grandparents don’t get the privilege to spend as much time as we have been able to, with our grandchildren; some not as much as we would have liked due to distance and a family crisis. We lived very closely to others for quite a few years.  Let me indulge a little here in ensuring all of the gbabies are covered in my brag!

Then there were three as Tahlia arrived, a couple of years later. The little dot was such a cutie and had the most amazing head of hair and an incredibly beautiful smile. Joy is her middle name and she was that! My favourite third born had arrived.

The fourth to arrive was the first in our line of boys. Josiah came with an incredible time of breath holding – by his daddy and by me as we watched him not breathing for a few minutes after his birth. His mum is as mums do, tuned in and wanted to know why he wasn’t crying. I never lie but that day we spoke in faith despite what we saw, a blue lifeless baby,    “He’s fine. He’s beautiful”. Enter gbaby 4 and our first grandson! I wasn’t quite sure how to work with appendages after so many girls but soon got the knack of changing diapers!

Then the fifth gbaby arrived…another boy Xavy came unexpectedly and we weren’t able to see him until he was a few months old but he is such a delightful little man – emphasis on the man. I wonder at this little whizz kid. So sensitive and thoughtful and wanting! “I want my debices!” being the cry many times after mum has confiscated the phones or ipads!

Number 6 Nathaniel was another unexpected baby but not for me! I knew on the day of the Josiah’s birth that there was one more to come for our daughter Sherri. At the time he wasn’t planned arriving at a very trying time with Josiah undergoing leukaemia treatment! What a little gift of joy, persistence, and character is this little one.

And then there were 7 with the arrival of Zoe this year! Her name means beautiful life and she has the loveliest smile, laugh and cuddles and has indeed brought life and love to her family.

All are our favourites, 1- 7 worth.

# 8. We are soon to meet another one of our adopted gbabies…Toby..looking forward to getting to know this young man and also maybe shoot some hoops with him!

We love them all so much and miss them as we travel around the world. What I didn’t expect was the phone call last night!

Two of the boys 4 and 6 made mum call us, “Can we come over to your house?” We are currently in the US they are in Australia! Hmm…

“Sorry buddies. It would take two plane trips, a train and car to get to you!”

“But Nanny you and Poppy and us can get a tent and go camping! Ok!” Stab to the heart! I really hadn’t realized just how much our gbabies miss us as we miss them.  I felt blessed to be so apart of their lives.

I remember in 2010 returning from China after the huge earthquake in the Chengdu area when Paul was working on rebuilding a village there. An old lady we were caring for back in Australia had one surviving son she hadn’t talked to in 2 years. She had many possessions, homes and properties and chastised me for not having our own home at that time.

“You shouldn’t be going off doing stuff for the Chinese! (very prejudiced was our Maisie). You should be getting money and property together and not wasting your time on others!”

“Maisie,” I said quite assertively to this woman who was used to having her own way and opinion, “I have just come back from China where generations were wiped out due to the one child policy and death of children, grandparents, parents etc. I have three beautiful daughters, and lots of grandbabies. I am considered such a blessed woman. I am so rich it is ridiculous.” She never said another word to me again about acquiring “wealth”. However, at her funeral a couple of years later I found out that two years earlier, (about the time of our discourse) she contacted her son, and resumed relationship with him until her death! In fact I had the privilege of being with her as she passed and him being there.

We should never underestimate the relationship we have with the next generation or the responsibility to pray for not only our children but our grandchildren and their children. I love the old patriarchs in the Bible who were able to see down to that next generation and be around to enjoy having them sit on their knees. The west has lost something in our culture of the old not being part of the new! My girls were blessed and a blessing to their grandparents, nursing and being part of their lives on many important occasions. What a joy that was for them and for my girls?

Call your Mum and Dad. Invite them over for afternoon tea or a shopping outing. Do something to include them in your family. I love the internet now for allowing us to not be too separated by distance to be able to see and speak to our gbabies. Photos, videos, calls fly backwards and forwards between us all to stay connected. The best connection though is to keep praying for them as they manoeuvre this life.

I will never take for granted or forget the hugs and cuddles, afternoon teas, and times of beautiful food with my gbabies or the adventure walks dragging them along Nanny’s walks, cycling with the red cart, beach runs, life and death discussions, movies, and shoot outs at Laser tag! I certainly hope they remember.

 

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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2013 

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2013 – the last time we were all together…miss this mob!
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The Latest Edition/Addition Zoe