Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dear Father,

Forgive me. Thank you for your patience. I want to begin an adventure with you. An adventure that wrestles with and understands the truest way to experience You. The deepest and most intimate way to know You.

In an attempt to become more “grounded” in your Word…In an attempt to be on the same page theologically with those around me, I threw the baby out with the bath water. I became skeptical of my emotions, my feelings, experiences and also of how your Spirit works.

I began this journey of “truth seeking” with the glorious Jesus in my vision. But before long found myself just trying to please man. The irony is that in an attempt to be a “word-based” Christian I actually stopped trusting in Your Word.

I affirmed it with my lips…searching for others to approve of my “doctrine” but my heart was cold.

It was “theology-out-there”. Cold. Distant. Separate.

LORD this is the greatest of mistakes. I cared more about “mastering my theology than being mastered by Jesus” (Josh Harris).

To trust Your word, to have a faith based on the Word, is not just to defend the faith intellectually…historically. Which thankfully the bible is capable of!!! But it is not ONLY that. What a sad way to reduce the speech of the living God!!

Yes it is those things but it is so much more. To trust in Your Word is to have it quicken my heart beat. To trust Your Word is to believe it is the greatest of treasures and delights.

To be a word-based Christian is to let your word pierce, expose, enlighten, empower. To be driven by Your word is to have my experiences, emotions, feelings, informed by the truest of treasures that far surpass anything originating from my intellect…or from my feelings.

Forgive me for mishandling Your word…not in terms of “exegesis”…not in terms of “preaching prosperity”. No. Something more subtle and damaging.

For seeing it as “theology-out-there”. For seeing it as a ‘form of godliness but denying its power’.

For using it to be affirmed of by man rather than to know and experience You.

Yes…experience.

Scoop me wholly up into your arms again Lord. May I experience You not just in fragments of my person but TOTALLY. Your Word washing my heart, mind, emotions, walk, speech…everything.

God Your Spirit dwells IN me!! Illuminating you word…guiding me into it’s truth. Pointing me to Jesus. Transforming my mind. Giving me a new heart. It’s not “theology-out-there”.

Because of Christ, I am indwelt by You.

Nothing is more intimate than experiencing You through Jesus, by the Spirit.

Keep teaching me Father.

Advertisements

I was on a mission. Eyes set on a task. I scurried past the cross carrying a heavy load in my arms. Weighed down with all I had to bring to you. All I had to contribute. I began to unload my jewels in what I thought was your presence. Each achievement, each piece of praise, each good deed, kind thought, each ability and gift. I looked at the ground, proud of all I managed to carry! I then lifted my eyes to see your reaction. To hear your approval and acceptance. But I couldn’t see you. There was a crowd of people, a sea of faces, there was my own reflection as in a mirror, but I could not see you.

Slowly I turned, remembering what I ran past on my way, too distracted by a task and a mission that was mine not yours.

I ran past the cross. I slowly walked back. As I beheld its glory in the one who hung upon it, the sea of faces began to disappear. As I saw His face and heard His words, the value I had attached to all I carried I realised was but a dirty rag. As I knelt down, broken at His feet, the weight of this load was lifted. I felt His smile. I heard His words, “the sacrifice of broken and contrite heart I will not despise”. But I realised it wasn’t my sacrifices that were making Him smile. But the Father’s smile was of the Son’s sacrifice. But here, at His feet, the Father was also smiling over me. For here, at His feet, is exactly where He wants me. It is here each of those things I’d carried finds there worth. Not because they earn me anything, but because they find their worth in Christ. They find their worth, when I’m trusting in Him. They didn’t earn me His love. No. They are a RESULT of His love. For he purposes every good deed in advance that we should walk in them. In the same way that He planned that I would be His. Before I did a thing.

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.

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.

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.

Learn to be small

Great God and Heavenly Father,

I need to learn to be small. Realise how Sovereign you are. Come to you humbled and weak.
You say “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness”. You don’t say you’ll make me strong so that I can cope with life on my own. You don’t say you’ll make me the hero in this story. Yet how often I strive to be strong. How often I try to be the hero. To juggle commitments because I can’t let people down. To carry burdens, worry and stress. A racing mind hindering sleep. Whose playing god here? Whose life is mine revolving around?

Your grace is sufficient. And grace is daily. Your power is made perfect in weakness. I need to stop thinking I’ll get to a place where I’ve “arrived”. A place where I’ve learnt the lesson that will set me up for life. What would that look like? Self-sufficiency? I would need you less? You are the living Creator God! I am dependent upon you not just until I learn some lesson, but I am dependent upon you always!! Every moment!! Every breath. The moment I think otherwise is the moment, I belittle you and act in pride. The greatest danger is to see you as smaller than you really are.

What I need, Lord, is for my heart to have a greater grasp of You.

Behold your God!

The weak vessels you used in the bible were never prepared for their task because they were gifted, or wise, or strong. In fact the moment they thought they were, they crumbled. They were prepared by a revelation of you through your Word. You spoke and fear of inadequacy was replaced by fear of you. You spoke, and pride was shattered. You spoke and commanded not ability but obedience. You spoke and assured your servants not of greatness but of your presence.

All my false confidences, my masks, my appearances…I throw in disgust at your feet. Your word exposes every motive in my heart. It exposes the deep things of the soul. And it comforts. It equips. It enables.

Isaiah 66:2 “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word”

I need to learn to be small again.

Dear Lord,
I went through a dark season in which I was unaware of you carrying me. The trust that I had in you uprooted itself and landed in my feeble hands. Whilst I learnt that your purposes are far above mine, and that you are weaving together a masterpiece for your glory, I somehow failed to believe that you felt my pain. That you deeply cared. I just had to learn to trust your Sovereignty…yet I misunderstood it. Sovereignty became a cold word. It meant you were in control but distant. That you loved me in Jesus, but left me alone in my pain.
Often in our suffering, we want the world to know. We yearn for the unfairness of circumstances to be affirmed. For people to see all we have been through in the darkness. Yet in that we fail to hear His whispers. We fail to acknowledge His provision. We fail to truly put our hope in the one who sustains. Do I understand that God knows? Do I believe that you are kind? Am I deeply convicted of your goodness toward me?

Why do we find it so hard to trust your character? The blindness of the Israelites in their failure to see how much you were caring for them is present in my heart. Rather than running to You, I have run from You.

I reduced your Word to a set of theological truths that I should believe. Merely a historical source. Synonymously, my view of You became impersonal and distant. Why? Because our view of Your Word is inextricably linked to our view of You. For this distance I blamed You. Not realising it was a result of human sin. Both mine and that of others. All the while You remained constant, wanting me to see that Your character was unchanged by my perception of it.

I was reminded recently that the bible is rich and colourful. It is revelation of a Holy God that desires to be known. It is not something I should approach with familiarity but with reverence and wonder. It is rivers of living water. What I have free access to, people in some parts of the world are dying for being in possession of. What I freely read in my own language, devoted men wrestled with original manuscripts to translate with great care.

The bible is about a person. That person is Jesus. And He desires me to know Him.

I suddenly feel vulnerable. Exposed. Like the wall I’ve been hiding behind is falling down brick by brick leaving me standing in Your presence. The very place Jesus has been leading me. The very place Jesus secured for me to stand. By His own blood. Like Adam and Eve, my first instinct is to run and try to hide. But where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? In the heavens, in the depths: even there your hand will guide me and your right hand will hold me me fast.

Your Sovereignty is not cold, but the provision of your hand moving in every detail of my life. It is not distant but deeply personal and intimately involved. Whilst I may not understand why, help me to know the security of being safe in You.

Lord may Your Spirit keep leading me back to You. For where else can I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.