So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Easter Sunday

It would be easy to do a typical blog on the joy of Easter and the Resurrection and Christ lives, but I want to think I can be different!

Easter is about reconciliation. What took place over 2000 years ago was God‘s final act in giving us a way to be back in the garden of Eden, in the original relationship, where God and man had walked  and talked together in the cool of the day. But we blew it, and God spent a long time searching for a man who could re-build this original relationship, but sin conquered each time.  It was only through Jesus, finally taking for once and for all the punishment for sin, that the original relationship could be rebuilt.  No more guilt or punishment for sin. Original relationship. Each day we can walk with God again in the garden, no more barriers, no more pain.  And he ‘s waiting for us because true love never forces itself.  Chose life.


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The Shack

I came across this book in the local library and downloaded it onto my Kindle as I felt I’d lose a lot in trying it in German!  I wont say much about the plot etc as you need to read this book yourself.  It’s a novel, it’s not a real experience, but it’s simple story of a damaged man spending a weekend with God and it had me mesmerised. Shame it’s called a shack, which sounds unpleasant but it fits the story, I’d rather it was a hut, as in the German translation!

It’s not the Bible, it’s a man’s agenda, but what God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do in this tale gives a possibility, an imagining, of how this three-way bond could be.  I didn’t agree with all it said, but there is so much love there, so much of what I believe as a non denominational Christian, and which I’ve heard taught by Joyce Meyer, Andrew Wommack, Hillsong, Willow Creek, that there is a huge credence to it. 

It set my vision of God free, to  feel his love and touches of the spiritual world, the bigger picture, the more important picture.  Its set something free in me.  I’ve felt closer to tears and closer to God for it.  Read it and judge for yourself.

Of course, I had to research it  and saw the Pharisees and Sadducees on the modern formal American church condemned it – they would.  People who read it appreciate it! I guess the end timers won’t like it either as there’s no panic there, just peace. And there has been a law suit with  bickering  over the profits, so human and so of the devil to want to wreck (by the way, he had no appearance in the book). There’s also the Missy project wich asks people to promote the book, hence my bit  above!

Read it and decide for yourself!

www.theshackbook.com


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Decisions

Another EAGALA training pic

One of the fundamental things about moving here was a strong belief that God had his hand on this and wants us here. It showed in how quickly the house was sold when we found this place, having a strongly Christian neighbour, meeting a Christian Estate agent and so on and so forth.  Yet when we arrived, so proud of being here for God and what does he want us to do, only to find it was nothing.  I needed these five years to read the Bible and get to know God and be made useable – hence Erna and the Burg.  I’m not there by any means, but I’ve moved on.

So when I joined a new Bible group in Tamsweg it was with a sense of at last, here we go, out of the desert.  The group is young and we need to take off the gravecloths of the old (John 11, v44) in the looking back of the failings of the older established churches and move on.  I’m also on the PCC, and that has been an eye opener, and from that, I’m beginning to see the possibility of my work here and a way out of the darkness.

My dilemma is this, should I fully blog these experiences and risk offending, pass on stuff others would wish remain private  or chronicle the start of something new and wonderful in Lungau in a general way which might miss the finer detail?

What would you do?


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Follow the Peace

 

When you have God’s will and you are meeting his in your heart, there’s a peace.  It’s difficult to describe and I can only say that by having re found it, I’m now so aware of how I had lost it.  I was so eaten away by bitterness at the Erna at work situation and I was causing strife in my mind because I was just letting my damaged pride eat away at me, when we live in strife the devil has a foothold (Thanks Joyce Meyer)

 So I’ve been back to praying and reading, and come to a realisation that I need a daily realignment in my thinking and actions. I wanted to care for those at work, even Erna. When she started the ignoring me, I thought (and this didn’t come from me), dear Erna, she is a sister in Christ and I’ll be with her in eternity (HELP!!!!!!) and the following sensation was sweet.  Driving up the hill to the Burg one morning after an early shower, the sun caught the rain drops and golden light filtered through, and I was overwhelmed with the beauty of his creation, and was filled with joy.  I haven’t had a moment like that for ages. 

 I’ve been wary of fasting for a while, for those who say that you get closer to God and have new insights.  But surely isn’t that just the effect of having low blood sugar and other chemical changes in the blood?  This moment in a way proved it to me, I was happily well fed and untired when this happened.  I think fasting should be a discipline for the body, God I don’t think loves you more because you’re hungry –someone comment?

 For several days following this I was filled with this Holy sweetness and the light around me on the plants and trees gave them a new beauty.  The supernatural is so close but we fail to perceive it.

 My perceptions changed too, when Edith suggested we work with the disabled people, my heart leapt – mainly because it is financially viable for them which we had thought not.  I thought this way was blocked since I left the FCRT, but maybe it was there all along, after all, seeing the Lebenshilfe workstation was one of the key moments in deciding us for here, although I later failed two interviews – my timing not Gods?

 I was still yearning my alone time, but began to see the element of self in it.   I also had another bout of the unexplained sadness – it during when I was trying to deal with Erna at work and then Edith rang and I snapped at her.  Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit being grieved in me.  I have felt there’s a contraction in being told not to follow our feelings, but sadness/grief etc are part of them.  Maybe its in the sense of knowing.


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The Renewed Mind

Poor marrow!

This simply means getting your nose down in the Bible and reading it, assimilating what it says and mediating on it.  Some things have puzzled me so much that I’ve let them go around in my head until ‘I got it’ to quote Joyce Meyer!  The Holy Spirit helps us, and Andrew Wommack also says praying in tongues while you do it helps a lot – I’ve tried but find it difficult to concentrate , no doubt needs practise.

 Ok, so then how about God’s will in our lives?  Well with these two steps in motion we can begin to test God’s perfect will.  I’m not going to repeat all the examples in the teaching, you must listen to it yourself. Suffice to say that the outcome is what is God’s will becomes yours.  In our own lives, it was this overwhelming desire to come and live in Austria, for me to work at the Fortune Centre where I’ve been most of my life terrified by disabled people.  This also means that this fear that folks have that they will be sent to the stereotypical mud hut in Africa because it’s what they will hate the most is null and void, God’ s love and will for their lives becomes their’s too and as in my own life.

 Yet it is so easy to get the idea of God’s will and go and blow it as Moses did, when he killed the Israelite and had to spend time in the desert repenting and learning from it.  We put our own timing on things in our haste to get going.  The way our house sold two weeks after we found this place is not man’s timing, its Gods, and I feel confident that we didn’t blunder.  I’ve been dogged with a sense of being on the wrong path so much but as I’ve listened, I’ve seen again his hand not mine in all this = phew!

 Not everyone will be called to be Ministers or preachers, there are other ways.  In some ways it might even be totally irrelevant as to what you do, as in work wise and living if you are maybe witnessing to a neighbour or helping someone.  And even then, it’s not our actions he’s looking for but US.

 Lastly, and what was most soothing to me, again with the example of Moses, is that its never too late to make a course correction if we swerve off the path, King David was God’s second choice after Saul and look what he did.  God will honour our honesty seeking and following a path, but he cant do anything unless we actually move and do something, then he can show us the co-ordinates to go on.


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The Living Sacrifice

Weird clouds as the storm departed

This is a repeat of an earlier blog series as I’ve just increased where the Blog appears.

Living Sacrifice – what a mouthful and what a daunting expression this is, especially to someone not really knowing the Bible. There is the picture of something being slain on an altar which is horrible and as Andrew Wommack says, the trouble with a living sacrifice it keeps on getting off the altar.

This expression is found in Romans 12, 1 -2 and a lot of preachers make a lot of this, I quote below from the NIV;

‘1. Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy , to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. 2. Do not confirm any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will’

The series then unpicked this statement, and to be a LS, is basically come to the end of your self.  And I have so done this!  God’s allowed me to follow my own desires in my writing, my degree work, although he showed me his purpose in working at the Fortune centre.  Here I’ve learnt patience, about my arrogance, my low self esteem, and the commensurate high sense of self importance, I’ve learnt how to clean bogs and be the invisible member of a team (well nearly).  I have this sense that there is nothing left but God, and I’ve made him my last option as I’ve slowly built a spiritual wall around myself, which I can see neither over or round.  I would counter those who would say that God has broken me – for I am not broken, I am his beloved and he has shown me these things in a way through my spirit so that I’ve come to recognise them and pray against them and learn, even though at times I’ve let them run while still being aware of them.  He’s let me discern and I feel has said that he made me, some of these things are damage and some things – like my love of control are not necessarily bad if used in the right way. I am at the end of myself, I lay myself on that altar and say I’m yours.  Do with me as you will, no holds barred. I know there are times when I’ll try to crawl off, as this self of  body  and soul (my thinking) which lives in the present time and space rears its physical needs, desires, cravings and will against that of God spirit of God who lives inside me, but I know I just have to climb back on board.  Its not a bloody place. When I get what is called a ‘Flesh flash’ of me wanting to do things for me, the Spirit will help me deal with it. As the series went on, more and more insights came to me and at last I’ve begun to get on the next stage.  I laid down my blog writing as a symptom of self, but I believe he’s given back to me this burning desire to share with people in this way through words so here I am.