Christmas – What really matters?

By Linda Joyce – Dec 2018 in the Year of our Lord

I woke up with this word on my heart, its about Christmas. I see people sweating the small stuff about Santa Claus whether some Christians have sold out or not to paganism. I see and hear brother and sister fighting each other, over this very thing and many other issues and when so much else is at stake.

Over the years, ‘Christmas’ for me (and from a child ) has been very different but the constant theme of my heart has always been wanting to bring joy and peace and looking for that something this world can never bring. Eventually, I found Him… no longer a cutesy baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, nor joy found in a well wrapped designer present, but the personification of the Father – His Blessed Holy Spirit in us: Immanuel. This is Christ mas for me – full to overflowing. I could burst. I know I will never lose this special gift or the joy of knowing what this brings.

The first thing I feel the Holy Spirit leading me to say this morning is that we are ‘Santa’. Santa means holy or saint. The Bible says Aaron was the ‘saint of the Lord’ (Psalms 108:16-19) standing in the gap with Moses. We are the representatives of God here on earth, standing in the gap with Him, for each other. It is for us to extend our arms and give our gifts (whether physical or spiritual), to others.

I see too many in the House, in the Body, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel and missing the most simplest thing, which is love. I see Christians who cant even bother to turn to give the time of day, day in day out, week in week out, Sabbath in Sabbath out, Sunday in Sunday out , puffed up, murmurers going no where like Dothan and the children of Abiram (Read in Psalms 108).

Jesus’ coming to earth is a love story. The message is about the surrender of all, for the sake of another. The event is about a King laying down his all for his citizens because he knew (what was at stake) and He cared.

Everyone has a birthday who is born. We all know now that Jesus’ birthday probably wasn’t the 25th of December… but we are sure he was born.

Don’t get caught up into the day or the word ‘Christmas’ don’t let it bring the hatchets out among you/us. Simply put, it is a anniversary of the birth of our Savior, who is a person now eternal with us by His Holy Spirit. A person, a nation celebrates the meaning annually and communally by choice, but the rejoicing of our Saviors birth is and should be everyday. The day or your days… is what you yourself make it. You can chose to be a child from hell full of murder or misery, or a child of love peace and joy here on earth representing the King of Kings.

Let me tell you where I am coming from and what moves me…

I was brought up in a home where Christmas was not celebrated… my parents were 7th Day Church of God- lovely people who had/have their own passions and ways they wanted to serve the Lord. I was obedient (I darent not be….) until I became an adult. I then made decisions based on my own felt reality of who God was to me at the time and at different points throughout my life. My testimony (see Facebook clip informs on how I powerfully met the Lord).

Let me tell you, in terms of Christmas , Ive done the shopping to excess and keeping up with the Jones’. I’ve had the other halves…. promising me the world and kissing me under the mistletoe. Ive had the tucked up babies in bed and the smell of Turkey tickling my nose through the night on the slow and the down low, and thinking I am cooking….!! Yet it still didnt feel enough. I had a wardrobe of clothes and nowhere (or no time) to go…. I still felt empty. I often couldn’t wait until Christmas was over.

Ive done the Christmas days in the soup kitchen, on the wards, helping the sick. Three lates, three earlys two days off… (my nurse friends will remember). Ive done the Jesus Breakfast… emergency duty phone lines, night shelters and homeless shelters, both here and afar. Ive doled out hot chocolate and condoms with the Rahab team in the East… Ive done the tree up? tree down? artificial and real ….to ‘baby lets wait and see….. the needles make such a mess on my new, white Axminster carpet…’. Take your shoes off please.!!!

Yes, Ive done the posh, the manger and the refuge and vicey versa ..all on my way to finding the joy and the peace. I have spent Christmas with family, the stranger, the friend, the crowd (during missions) and at other times on my own.

I am a child of the Spirit, always have been…. and I need to feel things ‘in my waters’….. (as they say) before I do… If I’m led… I go or leave. If I feel, I write …. or I say.. I give a little here and a little there, for fun, or if I see a need. My main objective? To address need, break chains, bring joy and to reveal Him and Truth, as led.

I have been a lady in waiting counting down the sleeps … brooding over – waiting for the reveal… as many do at Christmas. Christmas jars with some, is loved by others, but has so many memories and different meanings for us all.

As if to crown all the complexities of what goes in the mix for me, I lost my first born daughter … on Christmas Day….December 25th 2013 … now some 5 years. Don’t cry for me Argentina.. 🙂. But this put(s) all things keenly into perspective. All the events around and leading up to her death, the day – such a sudden, unexpected loss. All the events of our lives – so many Christmas’ together, crumbled away and we found ourselves holding black bags stuffed with all her/our yesterdays, preparing for a funeral.

Did anyone ask me how I feel?

They prayed for me at church yesterday. Christmas Day – some had remembered, others didn’t /don’t give me the time of day. But its Christmas..!!

I don’t grieve like other people grieve. Why? Because I am peculiar. Why? because my hope is and has been in Him. I know My Father does all things well. The joy of the Lord is and will always be, my strength.

I have learned in whatever situation I find myself, to give Thanks. I know that the Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be His Holy Name.

So what am I saying or what is it that the Holy Spirit is wanting me to convey in this piece?

I have said it before and I will say it again, that the prophets life is a metaphor. The story and pages of our lives, are for others.

It doesn’t really matter whether you tinsel up or tinsel down. What matters is whether your own heart has prepared him room. What will you bring to the Savior ? What will you lay at His feet? This was the song on my heart yesterday … I was in tears before I got dressed.

No one likes dressing up more than I, but I have stared death in the face and in the shape of my 5ft 8″ firstborn daughter. I’ve come to know that it doesn’t really matter about the party dress or the coiffured hair. What matters is how you are dressed in the spirit and the state of your heart, at the end.

Shall I tell you a secret? My purple dress yesterday (see the piccies) was from a second hand shop..I have had it 10 years plus ..some stones on the neckline now missing, but who knew ? who cares? I am /God is, more interested that there is nothing missing or broken on the inside.

Of course I have other clothes, new and old. I also design. But the dress was my choice. That’s the point. It’s not how we look. It is the eternal choices we make and the consequences.. at the end of the day. All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold ..! Dress well.

What really matters is whether there is any genuine love in our hearts or are we just playing games or performing for the crowd. What really is going on with you? Why the cold stare? The frown? What is on the inside? Where’s the joy and crown? Stop giving to get.

Know this: We are not fooling anyone but ourselves. The scriptures convicts us all if we take time to look. If we but listen.

The first commandment is this, To love God with all our hearts, soul and body and to love our brother as ourselves. The Bible says that if you have anything against your brother, sort it out first… before you bring your gift…. your song…. your dance … your performances …to the altar. Before you stroke the cutesy baby ..what about your brother? your sister ? standing sitting next to you – rubbing shoulders week after week? Sharing the same air space.

We can’t force our brothers and sisters outside Christ, but ‘in the house’, in the Body, we have to do better. Baby Jesus grew up and is a mature man of sound spiritual stature. Break out of your cliques , stop clowning around.

What really matters is whether your life or indeed Christmasses will be a sing song, ….will it continue to be a performance or will you seek to know how to come before, and worship the King. What will we teach our children?

Right now, only you and Father know what’s going on for you deep down in your heart, but sometimes what is deep down creeps to the top, it can be seen and felt and it affects ‘the song’…The Lord calls it empty cymbals and clanging bells.

Stop making noise. Stop the tom foolery – the hiding behind pomp and pride and our own head, ass and isms.

We can continue to be a stench or a sweet smell. We can be a lovely song… a blessing happening, rather if we clean out the stable of our heart (where its at now … ) and make room for Him and others.

What I don’t want (and I’m sure you’ll join me in this) is a mechanical hug at Christmas or feigned love. Don’t pretend you care. Show me your Christmas hug and your love everyday of the week..through the year. Please!

Ask me how I am. Turn around and hug me….. I can hear your heart even with your back turned and with your eyes down…Father sees our ducking and diving, avoidance tactics, through the crowd.

Look me in my eyes and show me who you really are….in Him. Don’t be a fair weather friend. Be my Santa.

Take time to be holy..

Encourage me from the Word. Let me see that you know Him. Let me see that you care.

The Bible says pure religion and undefiled before God the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. (James 1:27).

This is what really matters – speaking the truth to each other in love; having a desire to change to see Kingdom established whatever we do, whoever and wherever we are.

Writing …

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Our Father – Blooming Genius !!

By Linda Joyce 21/12/18

I am up early 4:00 am reading and moving through Growing in Prayer by Mike Bickle – it’s one of our ministry reading assignments. I get distracted often- two coffees later … sorting this and that straightening my pillows, I reach for the Daily Mail – brought yesterday (but unread as I was busy) and ready for the garbage bag. I turned through the pages – Brexit , Brexit, Brexit… and other Tom foolery ….but then stumble on an article by Stefan Ruczacki about a ‘blooming genius’ David Austin, who developed a rose that repeatedly blooms and gives off fragrance.

I love roses and I know Father is a master gardener, (see my other piece on this site The Master Gardener ) who prunes us and desires a sweet ever blooming fragrance. I am about to move house and planning a cottage garden, so I am intrigued and read on.

It is an interesting article (unlike the rest of the fodder). As I read , I come across a sentence which immediately opens up my spiritual ears and gets my attention. I see it is a message for me, the church – for pastors, leaders, teachers, evangelists.

The writer is sharing how David Austin managed this horticultural feat of repeat blooms and roses, roses with fragrance. David(now passed) had explained to him :

‘… You have to try many times over a long period to get results’. He had explained that he had the land to plant out hundreds of seedlings, giving himself ‘.. a wide range from which to choose ‘. But most of all ( the writer wrote ) ‘He was blessed with the gift of spotting likely candidates and nurturing them’ .

As I read this I thought of pastoral care, M24 and evangelism and the constant need to keep not only our ears open for the word, but our eyes open for the seed – that precious seed – both physical and spiritual. I know not every seed is a planting of the Lord.

I thought about the UK and the mission plans, both here and further afield and abroad. I thought about the seed.

The author went on to say ‘the remontant gene in the rose , is recessive and has to be ‘coaxed out’ through multiple ‘back crosses’ ie crossing the newly produced rose repeatedly with one of its forebears of similar genetic makeup going on to produce hundreds of varieties….’and (I add), to ensure against its demise.

This for me is the ‘iron, sharpening iron’ and stirring up each other to ‘go'(a communal commission) to sow, plant, impart and reproduce.

Not every seed is good or mixes well with others . There are bitter figs, brought through disobedience.(See Jeremiah 24:1-10) which can poison, cause disease or stagnate growth. As the scriptures and the elders used to say ‘Not all Israel, is Israel’ . I say, not every seed is a rose seed. We have counterfeits and camouflage and degenerate ones- ie can’t reproduce; some weeds also look good and grow tall and strong but choke good seeds. Some roses have spikes and thorns, some have barks..!! The right seeds need to be identified, nurtured and kept alive.

Father is reminding me that there is a fault line in our species brought about through Adam and the fall , but, by the eternal washing of water by the word, watering the seed , regularly returning to the cross and what Jesus did the see can survive. Our Jesus , came in human form, lived as a man, experienced much suffering, scourging and a cruel death on the cross, yet remained without sin’ . He was the holy seed of God.

We will continue to propagate righteous seeds and see lasting fruit from our labours, if we do it right and follow the master plan. Father is concerned about the cell and the seed. For seed to reproduce (and healthily), other things (which are/affecting the plant /the crop) have to die. Cut it out!

Jesus is the seed of God, (he is never past tense). He is the offering that is planted for us, planted with blood (in eternal communion and breaking of bread) his life, sweat and tears and from groaning prayers.

As any gardener knows, it takes sweat and tears…. to produce to bring forth and before we see and smell, that blessed aroma. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone.

Once on the ground or in the ground … the seed needs looking after… if it is to grow and reproduce after ‘His kind …’

Jesus is our Rose of Sharon – as He is so are we, in this world – or should be. If we abide in Him and allow him to abide in us, we will produce much fruit.

Avante!! Up now ! and be encouraged. Bloom where you have been planted and nurture and water the precious seed both near and far. Keep a watchful eye on them. The fields have been made ready – there is an expanse and much work to do. Father is producing in us a sweet aroma of grace, as we continue to labour with him for the harvest.

I’m sure there is more … !!

Linda J

Attack on Truth

This week I was led to advise on a number of decisions and situations that would have left some individuals vulnerable. I was vociferously attacked and much mischief began to manifest. I sensed the enemy at work. The day after these events I also began to feel a pain deep in my waist area.

I didn’t make the link with what had occurred until early this Sunday morning (5:30 am and praying and studying the word). The Holy Spirit shone his light into the cause of the physical pain – it is an attack on the Word and an attack on Truth.

He reminded me that the belt of truth is round our waists. As Christians we need to wear our armor daily. The opponents to God’s , right reign and rule, will try to attack. We will sometimes feel and see this in the body… (both on the micro and macro level) both in the spiritual and physical domain. These opponents are fallen angels and foul diabolical spirits working through men and women. When a man or woman of peace stands up you will see the opposing spirit come in like a flood. David said it. He said ‘ I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war’ . (Psalms 120:7)

The Bible instructs that our fight is against spiritual wickedness in high places and from the rulers of the darkness of this world. The rulers of darkness is still ruling the hearts of many, seeking to blind, spear, maim, kill, infect, or cause disease.

We walk amongst these disarming, disempowering rulers of darkness every day and they have a chain of command. They wreak havoc and mischief . They cause despair and devastation in their wake. They belch with their mouths , their words are smoother than butter, softer than oil, but war is in their eyes and heart. Their teeth and lips are drawn swords. (Psalms 55:21; 59:7). Nothing they do is new under the sun. They think God is asleep, but He has seen.

David said, Psalms 57:4-6.

My soul is among lions:

and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men,

whose teeth are spears and arrows,

and their tongue a sharp sword.

6 They have prepared a net for my steps;

my soul is bowed down:

they have digged a pit before me,

into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.

I did feel like I have had a ‘good kicking’ (as they say), but this morning on my watch, studying and praying and now seeing … I prayed accurately against the attack and the pain has subsided. Glory be to God.

They will fall in the pit they have digged for me and I have seen it with my own eyes. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.

The signature scripture for my ministry is Psalms 46:5. Part of the scripture was used humorously for the late Margaret Thatcher. ‘……she shall not be moved’. Father gave me this scripture when he was calling me out of darkness into his marvelous light and when he was instructing me about my call.

The full scripture is ‘God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. God shall help her, and that right, early.

David himself worshipped God in the midst of his suffering, as will I.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens;

let thy glory be above all the earth.

I am called to speak and to say and to write and to worship and since the age of 7 years. I will continue to do this with every fibre of my being. I will set my face like a flint, stand in the gap, adjudicate, seek to bring justice and wisdom to situations and whilst garrisoning my own heart.

We can lead people to truth, to refreshing to waters, but we can’t force anyone to drink. The Bible tells us there will be those who will continue to oppose us. It is not us they are attacking, but His Son. Jesus was made wisdom unto us, but wisdom is too high for fools.

The Bible says their foolish hearts are darkened. They are ever listening and ever seeking truth, but they refuse to hear or to see when light shines. They are bitter, sensuous, devilish and ungodly. They never mature or graduate to the mark of the higher call.

I will continue to wear my armor. Thank God for the belt…. I will continue to speak, to challenge injustice and to protect the little ones. As an ambassador for Christ, I will continue to advise on and seek a more excellent way for the kingdom.

Father will bring all kingdom opponents down with one shout. Mine is to continue to pray for protection, healing and restoration – even my own.

In his time, Father will break the teeth of the dragon and disappoint their devices and cunning, as he has done for me and in the past.

Levante….. (I hear in my spirit man). upwards and onwards and continue to stand for Truth.

Linda Joyce .

Fathers daughter