Search

Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith

Month

June 2015

Spirituality 101

Have you ever wanted to hear from God?  Is it possible for mere humans to experience God’s voice?

“Speak, We’re Listening.” These are the words framing Hillsong Conference 2015 which will see more than 30,000 people gather in Sydney’s Allphones Arena. I will be one of them.

This phrase, this cry, implies some powerful assumptions, namely:
That God is alive.
That God speaks.
That God wants to say something.
That we can hear God.

I wonder if you really believe that God speaks? And if you do, how much do you want to hear from Him?

It may start with belief in His existence, that He is a living God, but it also involves our understanding that He cares enough to respond to those who want to hear Him.

Personally, not only do I believe He can speak, I need Him to speak to me: His voice is life, it is my rock in a world of uncertainty.

My desire to hear His voice motivates my ears to listen. Without His voice, there is no fullness to our relationship. God-breathed words, His voice, are oxygen to my soul and infuse life into my spirit.

Like sheep are inclined to their shepherd’s voice for safety, I choose to align myself to the Good Shepherd’s voice. I know He cares for me and has my best interests at heart.

I have no doubt that God has good things to tell us.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

You see, hearing God is no futile activity, it is the very means by which we develop faith. And at the same time, we need faith to hear Him. One feeds the other: faith, hearing, and hearing, faith.

So how do we hear His voice?

We listen: listen in prayer, listen in worship, listen to His Spirit, listen to His Word.

I remember staying at a friend’s home. I was having trouble hearing and his wife who was a nurse, washed my ears out by forcing water to push out the blockage. A bit weird, but it worked.

That’s just like God’s Word. It is like living water. It opens our ears to hear. Today, if you are having trouble hearing from God: try washing out your ears with a good dose of the Word of God.

When you read the Bible, the Spirit of God has something to work with. There are many times when in just reading, suddenly a verse jumps out. That’s the Spirit of God taking revelation and illuminating it to our spirit, speaking it into our life and situation.

Trust the presence of His Spirit in you to communicate what God is saying to you, with or without the details.  Be encouraged that His presence in you can speak directly to your spirit as your spirit is tuned to His voice.

What God says may not be all you want to hear, but it will be all you need to know and all you need for now.  It will be enough for you to take the next step of faith and when you do, He will speak again.

Let that same God-breath that inspired the very words on the pages of your Bible, breathe life into you as you read them.

Give it a try, make room for God to speak.

I, for one, am listening.

Phil

Keep an eye out for Fridays with Phil’s next post on Friday 17th July.

Choices that hurt

We all make choices. Some of our choices both help and hurt at the same time. They are beneficial but uncomfortable. They are right but they go against the grain.

When you have a debilitating illness, there are certain medications that are prescribed which alleviate pain and the body’s response to illness but at the same time take their toll in other areas.

To help me manage the effects of Motor Neurone Disease (muscle fasciculate, cramps, shakes), my neurologist has given me medication. Unfortunately the drugs come with warnings of blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, high blood pressure, weight gain etc. You get the picture.

It’s the dilemma of many people in our world who neither choose the illness, nor choose the effects the drugs may have.  But in the end we make a decision, it’s the lesser of these evils.

I wonder, how do you make the right choices in life? Choices like:

What medication do I take, if any?
Will I marry this person?
What degree do I study?
Should we start a family?
Should we buy a house?
Do I spend $200k on a trial drug?
Do I want quality of life or extended life?

Here is how I try to make the right choice.

Don’t let happiness be your guide, let peace.  When you have peace, joy is around the corner and joy is a necessary ingredient for lasting happiness and satisfaction. As one person put it, “Being sick well means living with joy despite the illness.

Seek counsel from experts in their field and wise people.  Remember sometimes those with knowledge aren’t the ones who have wisdom.  Wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge. Give time to thoughtful contemplation, this is different to just accumulation of facts.  Value other people’s opinions but remember they may have different values and life goals to you.

Consider this: what will be the impact on others? Try, to the best of your ability, to play out the consequences and see if it ends with increased experiences of love for you and the ones closest to you. Don’t base your decisions on what YOU want but on what is needed.

Allow your heart to get involved and search for what is instinctively true and right.  I’m not talking about what feels good to the senses but what has a deep and pervading “I know” attached to it.  It reaches to the personal integrity of what you believe is morally and ethically right.

For me, the Bible has given me some moral and ethical absolutes and prayer helps me practice those by God’s grace.  Sometimes the absolutes outweigh the popular and the majority.

Your decision to have life may mean certain things you now live with must die: bad habits, unhealthy relationships, negative thought patterns. In this way, sometimes life is found in death.  Don’t let pride or fear stop you from changing a wrong choice or making a right one.

Making the right choice, even those that hurt, is a balance between heart and head. I would encourage you to trust yourself and know yourself, don’t fear what others may think. Sometimes the right decision costs us something personally.

Remember this, right decisions take courage no matter what the outcome may be.

My hope for you today is that you choose the best life possible.

Phil

Seeing the unseen

Photo by Joey McCann

What you see is only possible by what you don’t see.

Wrapped in flesh is how we see each other.  It’s flesh that conceals and contains our organs and skeleton.  Imagine for a moment what it would be like to see a pumping heart or a digesting stomach when we looked at each other.  It is certainly best some things remain hidden, but not necessarily forgotten.

You body illustrates an important life experience.  Your life, as you see it, is made possible by what you do not see.  More importantly your life is interdependent on the lives of so many hidden significant others.

What is seen is only made possible by what is not seen. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Much of our world relies upon the hidden achievements of unseen people.

We buy bread each day with little thought about the bakers who rise at 3am to bake it.  Imagine for a moment what your world would look like if people suddenly stopped doing what they do today.  I wouldn’t like to imagine my world if you stopped doing what you do today.

If the garbage was not collected, if seed was not sown for harvesting fruit and vegetables we consume, if water treatment workers didn’t provide fresh water, if factory workers didn’t build the computer I’m typing with.

Our lives are so connected and we are in need of each other more than we realise.

So stop today: look at the stranger as they drive past, see the fellow passenger in the bus, or the person sitting near you at the café.  That person is connected to you.  Understand that if it wasn’t for them your life would be so much worse off.

Imagine the new depths of gratitude you could experience today if you started to see what you don’t see. 

See how important our lives are to each other.  Remember it takes a village!

A beating heart or a skeleton may be unseen but each is vital to survival in the flesh, as are the community of people we do life with. 

I think that if we could see behind the scenes, we may just live with a lot more gratitude for each other and the part we all play to live in community. “Thank you” may escape our lips a little more freely. 

Phil

I believe we can Freeze MND!

With my family, looking forward to the Big Freeze!
With my family, looking forward to the Big Freeze!

Like me, Neale Daniher has Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

This weekend, Neale is spearheading a campaign to raise money for a cure.  On Monday June 8th, several well-known footy personalities will be dunked in a giant pool of ice before a blockbuster Collingwood FC vs Melbourne FC game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

MND in Australia alone kills 2-3 people each day and they are replaced daily with others being diagnosed.

Neale calls it the BEAST.  My neurologist, Professor Dominic Rowe, a leader in research for a cure at Macquarie University, calls it the BASTARD.  Doctors, in university exit surveys, are known for voting MND the disease they would LEAST like to get.

MND kills most of those with it within 27 months of diagnosis. Death comes by the muscles wasting away until the person can no longer walk, talk, eat, or move any part of their body but the eyes, and then eventually, they can’t breath.

There is a cure, we just haven’t found it yet!

Personally I’m believing a cure will be found in the not-too-distant future.  I think we can turn Motor Neurone Disease around.

Why is a cure so important?

I believe a cure is the best way we can honour those who have died of the disease before us.  They courageously and valiantly faced their death.  All those who have died from MND have somehow contributed to the cure of the future.  Their death has motivated many to desperately and tirelessly work to find a cure today.

I think of those who can now give testimony of having been cured from cancer and at the same time, I think of those who, because of their death, are the reason we can celebrate that cure today.

Another reason I believe a cure is so important is that it aligns itself with the heart of God for humanity, a good God who desires for us to live life abundantly.  Whenever anybody works to protect, provide and promote life, they work in line with the will and purpose of God for humanity.

I am throwing my full support behind Neale and his team to help raise as much awareness and funds as possible.  If you would like to find out more or lend your support, you can visit www.freezemnd.com.

Phil

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: