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Shea Ritchie

Love is.

Dear Friends,

It has Been A LONG TIME since my last post but here I am again with something pressing on my heart. Over the last few months I have been reading through the Psalms and it’s taking me a long time because there is just so much goodness to take in!

Psalm 29

“Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness. The Voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters, The Voice of the Lord is Powerful; The Voice of the Lord is full of Majesty. The Voice of the Lord breaks the Cedars, Yes, the Lord splinters the Cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like ca calf, Lebanon and Sirion are like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of the fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”. The Lord sat enthroned at the flood and the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless his people with peace.”

WOW! I LOVE this!  I was reading this just getting smacked in the forehead every second sentence.

It says that the voice of the Lord is over the waters, many waters. God doesn’t just speak over one issue he speaks over many. He doesn’t neglect one over the other. It says that the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars. I don’t know much about cedars so I hit up the old wikipedia and found out the the lebanon cedars grow to around 40 m tall and 2.5m diameter (thats equal to around 8m round) and its a hard wood. Thats a huge as tree! How often do we see our problems as a cedar thats 40m tall, 7m thick and hard as rock? It says the voice of the Lord breaks it! Not only does he break it but he splinters it!! The voice of the Lord breaks the wilderness! How often do we start to feel overshadowed by that cedar of a problem? The light disappears, it towers over us and we feel alone? The voice of the Lord breaks the wilderness! YES! I do not have to dwell in that place for all eternity! Flipping sweet deal I say!

I tend to forget that even though the Lord was the King in the past, he is actually still King now. Like it says, ” The Lord sat enthroned at the flood and the Lord sits as King forever”. He is king over my past, present and future and just as he broke Davids wilderness and broke his cedar into splinters, he can break mine because He is the same Yesterday, today and forever.

S.

Dear Friends,

Its been a long time that ive been thinking dwelling on peace and im still thinking about it.

Its in these times of turmoil in my life that i tend to have the most revelations about the nature and character of God. His love, the joy that he gives, his strength, his grace and all of the different facets of each of these.

But my latest revelation (luckily) has to do with PEACE.

I’ve been through a topsy turvy time lately and i’m one of those people who can let their problems overwhelm them and i have been reminded of the time when Peter walks on the water.

This story is a Miracle! Not for Jesus, it wasnt miraculous that Jesus, the king of kings, creator of the universe, could walk on the water. The fact that anyone was surprises was a bit silly if you think about it. The miracle is Peter. Peter was just a common man, with common thoughts and common issues. He was nothing particularly special but he did something special.

So after the feeding of the 5000 Jesus sends his disciples across the lake in a boat and goes and has some alone time.  So here are the disciples hanging out in a boat having a few laughs and relaxing after a big day, travelling to the other side of the lake completely oblivious to the encounter thats about to take place. The boat travels out and the waves start to toss the boat and once they reach the middle of the lake Jesus comes out the meet the disciples walking on the water. The disciples seeing this yell out in fear and believe that they have seen a ghost but Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, it is I”. Peter, the only one of the 12 brave enough to answer, says, “IF it is you, command me to come to you on the water”. Jesus, being unable to deny himself, said, “come”. So Peter climbs out of this giant fishing boat, turns his eyes to Jesus and begins to walk on the water. Peter! The common man, walks on the water! There is a miracle!

But when Peter turns his gaze off Jesus and on to the waves crashing all around them and he immediately begins to sink. Jesus reaches down and picks peter up and says, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I really do love this storage because it shows you where you can find peace.

Jesus is calling us all out of our boats and out of our comfort zones, to walk on the water WITH him. He wants us to walk with him and keep our eyes fixed on him. The second that we turn our gaze away and focus on the waves we immediately  we begin to sink.

“But God Dont you see that Billl that has appeared?”

“But God are you unaware of my family situation?”

“Are you oblivious to my school grades and attendance?”

We think that we need to focus on the waves and calm them ourselves. We still need to acknowledge them but keeping our eyes on him.

“God I know these things are around me but God, I am trusting you and having faith that you will look after me and not let me drown”

That is where we find peace. peace in knowing that God will look after us.

And peace will overflow into the rest of our life. It says in the word, from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and i believe that its not just our words but our actions and out attitudes. If we have peace in our heart, we will have peace on others.

So waves or Jesus? Where is your gaze resting?

S.

DearFriends,

I wanted to share with you the lyrics to my favourite song at the moment. Its called Well is my Soul and its written by Joel Wardle from C3OF.

Verse 1

Well is My soul, My rest is in thee

You are my shelter, Triumph and Peace

Christ is my Treasure, and heaven my home

The voice that has called me, Your word is my Home

Chorus

Christ is Risen, In Christ I stand

Forever I’ll praise you the Great I Am

Christ is with us, Emmanuel

Highest Hosanna It is Well

Verse 2

Well is my soul, All Glory to thee

Safe in your shadow, alone you I seek

Your blood that has saved me, redemptions flow

You crowned us with mercy, your rest in my soul

Chorus

Christ is Risen, In Christ I stand

Forever I’ll praise you the Great I Am

Christ is with us, Emmanuel

Highest Hosanna, It is Well

Bridge

I see the crown through the suffering

I see the joy that forms my strength

I know the son in the wilderness

and i know thou has called me blessed

S.

Dear Friends,

Its been awhile and I am going to continue on the Fruits of the Spirit series (still dwelling on peace) but for now i wanted to post on the importance of boundaries. When you are in your early to mid teens you think that your boundaries are so much further away than they actually are and you tend to cross boundaries more frequently and as i’ve become older I’ve realised the importance of those boundaries and that they are much closer than i thought.

For example, the boundary between myself and my leader. I can make friends easy and after much thinking ive realised that i dont need my leaders to be my friends, i need them to be my leaders. Someone who can point out my bad habits without me getting all offended and “youre my friend! Why would  you say that?!”. After realising that that is what i need, i now know that that is what the people who i lead need. They dont need another friend, they need someone who loves them and is willing to be the bad guy.

The boundaries in friendship are completely different! there are no two boundaries that are the same, the boundaries between me and my best friend are completely different to the boundaries i have with any other friend.

I love having boundaries in my life, its provides structure and balance and it gives me a mess free (well almost) life because i know where to stop with all the people in my life.

Knowing where to stop is probably one of the most important things to know in your life and you are constantly learning and i am thankful for having people in my life who can tell me when i have crossed a line, Who are your people?

S

Dear Friends,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control” Galations 5:22-23

Nehemiah 8:10 ” The Joy of the Lord is your stength”

They Joy of the Lord is my strength. A mantra in my life at the moment. I have been in Bed for 7 days straight now, sick with something i that i have no idea what it is and the one thing that has been going through my head is that even when my physical self has zero strength, the Joy of the Lord is my strength.

But what does it mean for the Joy of the Lord to be your strength?

Have you ever noticed that when you are happy and things are going great in your life, you feel like you could do anything but when things are not going well you just want to sit and hide and do nothing? Well when the Joy of the Lord is your strength it means that you focus on and look for the good things in your life that God has given you and allow them to revive you. Even when you can’t find anything to rejoice in and be thankful for there is always the fact that you are are saved. You can take  joy in your salvation! in the fact that you are going to be spending eternity with Jesus! How cool!

When you live by the Spirit, joy becomes an overflow of your heart. I want to live so that i am known for the joy that i have. Because im a girl i can be a little moody but i dont want to be known as the girl who screams at people and is miss grumpy puss at the end of every camp i go to or when i’m just tired, i want to be known as the person who is overflowing with joy no matter the situation. And the way that that is going to happen is if i choose daily to live by the spirit.

Today i Choose.

S.

Dear Friends,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galations 5:22

What is love? While we only have one word for it, the bible talks about 4 different kinds of love. Eros, Phileo, Storge and Agape are the greek words.

Eros is a conditional love. Loving someone for what they can do for you.

Phileo is the love of a close friendship

Storge is the love of a family relationship

Agape is that love which seeks only the highest good of others. It is the love that Paul defines in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Jesus uses the same word in Matthew 5:43-48

Agape has to do with the mind. It is not simply an emotion which rise unbidden in our hearts; it is a principle by which we deliberately live. Agape has supremely to do with the will- William Barclay

Agape love does not rely on whether or not you feel like it today. It is not an uncontrolled reaction of the heart but a concentrated exercise of will. It is unconditional and does not require anything in return. It is not exclusive but an all embracing love shown towards everyone.

John 13:34-35

” A new Commandment i give to you, that you love one another; as i have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In this passage Jesus tells us to love one another as He has loved us but in all honesty how much do we actively show love to those around us even when they are not very kind to us? Jesus lived by the spirit, he was the spirit and he showed the fruits of the spirit every single day and i would like to be more like Jesus. Having a love like Jesus means growing a love for everyone. This is not an easy thing to do. People say mean things. They hurt us, and sometimes it is hard to keep our focus on love. Sometimes we are so hurt that we find it difficult to love anyone, not just those who have hurt us. Other times messages get in the way of us loving ourselves, so it is hard to love others.

When we live by the spirit, live a life that is lead by the spirit, love will naturally flow into our lives.

” I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear  fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because if the word which i have spoken to you. Abide in me, and i in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me and my words in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is Glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:1-8

The Branch does not have to be constantly thinking “I must produce fruit!”, Constantly striving to produce fruit, all it does is simply do as is was designed to, abide in the vine and by doing that the branch produces fruit.

We too are designed to abide  in the vine, our father. And when we do what we are designed to do we do not have to struggle or strive to produce fruit. Verse 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much Fruit”

Abide in him and you will bear the fruit of the spirit.

S.

Dear Friends,

For those of you that actually read this blog you will notice that i had a completely different “chapter 19″ yesterday. My frustration at wordpress is relatively high at the moment but its given me an opportunity to decide what to blog on over the next few entries.

There has been a big thing going on with the people of my life in regards to living by the spirit. What does your life look like when you live by the spirit? What are the outcomes? There is an overflowing that comes from living by the spirit, that flows down into every area of your life. Over my next few entries i am going to look into what the effects of living by the spirit are.

Galations 5:16-25

“I say then: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatary, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as i also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with is passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”

I am amazed at the honesty of this passage! It states it so matter of fact that you cannot live by both the spirit and the flesh, its either one or the other. And THEN it tells you what the effects are of both, its actually simple!

My aim is to live by the spirit and for the overflow of that to be constantly and consistenly present in my life. For love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control to be qualities that i am known for and remembered for.

Living by the Spirit. It is such a challenge! My mind immediately goes to that passage in Romans…….7:19 which says “For the good that i will to do, i do not do; but the evil i will not to do, that i practice”. To err is human, but i do not want to live by “humanity” i want to live by the spirit, i want to be more like christ, In the world but not of it (John 17), not conforming to the patterns of this world.

I look forward to sharing this with you

S.

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