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Archive for January, 2015

Dear Mind, stop.

Sometimes I look ahead at the future and see it as a massive to do list. Each item a blur of faces and a frightened self who feels inadequate.
At any minute, this fragility may be exposed to an audience who has been fooled by strength. A crack that leads to the glass shattering.
A mind overworked with all that I know whilst fooling itself into thinking it can work out all that I don’t.

What you ask of me is much different to this self-authored list.

Be Still. Behold Jesus.

Why do I feebly crawl back into the cage you have set me free from?

As a wise preacher once said, why do I move from looking out the window towards the cross and seeing my salvation to looking at the mirror and seeing my performance?

“The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. We are not sent to battle for God but to be used by God in His battlings.” (Oswald Chambers)

Suddenly, as these words filter through my scattered thoughts, I slowly walk off centre-stage.

Lord, help me today to see my Lord Jesus whom I serve. When I think of tomorrow, help me to see my Lord Jesus whom I serve. When I think of ministry, help me to see my Lord Jesus whom I serve. When I pray, when I speak, when I study, when I sing, when I lead…help me to see not these things but my Lord Jesus whom I serve.
Help me to realise this life is no longer a stage for my performance but a stage for His performance on my behalf. I am joining in an orchestral song that he already composed and is playing.

You see all the mixed motives of my heart. All the ways my vision of you is clouded by others. “You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same.” That Lord makes me yearn for my heart to be made clean. For these eyes to behold Jesus.

Help me not to be preoccupied with tasks but in every interaction and every opportunity to serve, to resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2).

“Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause” (Oswald Chambers). The difference? Being devoted to a cause is all about what one does for the cause. Devotion to a person is brought about not by what I do but by something they have done. Not by who I am, but by who they are.

I’m not devoted to a cause…for many people have causes…but I am devoted to a person.
And He will not let me go.

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How often I get the source of love all wrong. How often I neglect grace in my ‘efforts’ to love. How often ‘giving’ to others subtly intertwines with a performance based ethic that is based on pride and independence.

What are the alarm bells I hear that reveal this misguided heart? When the thought of serving, loving, and giving of myself cause me to collapse in a heap because I have nothing left. When my eyes well with tears at the task at hand because I cannot even fathom being capable. When I judge, rather than genuinely care.

Snippets from 1 John 4:7-19 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God….This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins….and so we know and rely on the love God has for us…we love because He first loved us”

Is it selfish to dwell upon God’s love for me in Jesus? Surely I need to be all about loving others and focus all my efforts on others. But is love really my motivation when I do this or is it actually just people pleasing? For approval…and even more selfishly…to receive love IN mans approval.

But this is deceptive. For this kind of cycle is exhausting and can function independent of God.

Here is how I neglect grace in my ‘efforts’ to love. I read a verse like 1 John 4:7 and sigh because I know I’m not loving enough. So I just try harder. I think of more ‘good deeds’. When done I feel a bit better and the recipient feels like I’ve loved them. Is this what God has in mind?

No. I missed the whole point. That love comes from God. That love is not first found in MY love of God…how strong or weak or passionate or fading…that He loved FIRST.

Even still after dwelling on this for a moment, my hearts wants to move on. It says “ok great, I’m to love because God loved first. He loved me so I love. Lets get on with doing things for others.” There it is again. Obligation. Performance.

Then it dawns on me. I don’t think God wants me to move on from these truths! To see them as a means to an end…of second importance. I think He wants me to stay here! To bask in His love. To let it wash over me. To let it transform me.

Why is this NOT selfish? Because the nature of God’s love is not self-focused. It is a love that has an outward effect. It is a love that by its very character, loves others.

Here is the strange irony. The way God intends for me to love others, and the way I will do that the best….is not in trying my hardest to love. It is to realise the extent of God’s love for me. Strangely this takes my eyes off myself and on my capacity and onto a God whose love is of infinite capacity.

Lord I need your help to understand this. Keep me from the danger of a false understanding of love.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”

Yes I can be empty and love. For God’s gift to me is the love of Jesus. A love that requires power to grasp. A love that surpasses knowledge. A love that knows not my emptiness but bestows upon me the fullness of God. Yes I can be empty and love.

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For His Eyes

Dear Self,

Don’t love to be seen as one who loves, love because He first loved you.
Don’t comfort to be seen as one who offers comfort, comfort because you know the God of comfort.
Don’t be generous for the sake of generosity, but because you have received much in Him.
Don’t serve for the sake of being esteemed, serve because He humbled Himself to death upon a cross.
Don’t seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake, seek knowledge because it anchors love.
Don’t share truth to be seen as one who has answers, share truth because of a deep conviction of the truth.

Stop doing things for the fleeting reward of man’s attention, approval, affirmation.
Love, comfort, be generous, serve, seek…for His eyes…For your Heavenly Father sees what is done in SECRET and will reward you.

Yours Truly.

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