Warrior

It’s time to wage war with every word that God has spoken over you, over your spouse, over your children. The warfare has been intense and the opposition fierce, but you held on, you didn’t cave in or give up… well done warrior Princess!

The rejection, the hurt, the abuse, the betrayal.

The molestation.

You are no victim. You stood your ground; even though people around you had no inkling of the fight that you were going through.

Arise, dust yourself off, the battle has been won.

The negative words of the adversary, echoed by those around you are lies, they were always lies.

Royalty, that’s who you are.

Chosen.

Forgiven much, that you may also forgive much.

Loved, so that you also may love much.

Blessed, that you may also be a blessing to the others; the many.

The seeds.

The ones who will struggle, shed silent tears, despair but rise.

Lift up your gaze,

The spoils of war litter the battlefield behind.

Help yourself to the spoils of war,

They are yours.

Copyright © 2020 Margaret Love. All rights reserved.

 

 

Who’s Centre stage?

All too often, we hear the behind the scenes stories of people that have taken that route, empty, depressive lives, devoid of satisfaction and an emptiness on the inside that nothing of material value can fill…………….. Are we ready to re-position our hearts?

Do you know what it means to be out of sync, to have things the wrong way round, like a child who’s got shoes on the wrong feet, the left foot on the right and the right foot on the left? Most of us view our lives as God’s children, with us as the focal point; almost as if God is positioned to help us fulfill our plans but that’s just the problem, that whole premise, is completely the wrong way round!

We have been positioned here on earth to fulfill His plans. The dreams and visions He places in our hearts are not for us to take centre stage but for Him to rule, so that He can move through us to work out His plans and purposes.

In today’s self-focused world, it’s important that we ensure that Jesus is the centre. Israel Houghton sang a song that’s been going through my heart this week, some of the words read:

‘Jesus be the centre of your Church (2ce)
From beginning till the end, it will always be
It’s always been you Jesus, Jesus
Nothing else matters, nothing in this world will do
Jesus you’re the centre and everything revolves around you
Jesus you…’

Being used by God is such an exhilarating experience, which should bring us, in humility to our knees… that God, the creator of the whole Universe would entrust Himself to us and allow His life to flow and move through us to touch others is amazing!

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

It’s as we allow Him to use us, to lead and we follow, that we truly realise that it is God at work through us.

Let’s take some time out to re-evaluate if our talents, gifting or whatever it is that God has placed into our hands, is centred on us or if we’re allowing Him to flow through us, to use the gifting, opportunities and platforms He has given us, for His glory.

No doubt, our gifting can be harnessed and used without the expression of God at work through them, but that gives rise to stress, competition and striving to make a name for ourselves but God is saying, “let me lead… you follow”.

It’s stressful trying to please and fit into the worlds perception of what they think we should do with the dreams, ideas, gifting, talents, opportunities and platforms that He gives us.

All too often, we hear the behind the scenes stories of people that have taken that route, empty, depressive lives, devoid of satisfaction and an emptiness on the inside that nothing of material value can fill… the fame, power, drugs and sex, deepening the void, many eventually choosing to commit suicide; Kate Spade, Caroline Flack, Robbie Williams and Avicii to name just a few.

In the book of Acts 9: 15, referring to Saul of Tarsus and God’s plans for His life, the Lord responded to Ananias’ reluctance to pray for Him with the words,

“Go for He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before Gentiles, Kings and the children of Israel”.

Saul (who became Paul), was a chosen vessel! As God’s children, that’s what we are – VESSELS. Are we ready to re-position our hearts and lives today, to live in the reality of this truth?

Dear Father, you are the potter, I am the clay. Forgive me for times when I’ve thought it was all about me, when my self-centredness has hindered the plans you have for me. Today, I reset my heart to allow you to live through me. I give you my dreams, talents and gifts. Use them as you choose.

Know no man after the flesh!

Do we really know anyone? I mean really know, the under the surface heart-like knowing…… The guy whose face is plastered all over the front pages of the tabloids for sexual offences, do we know him?

There’s a couple I met a few years ago, who I’ve seen and interacted with on a few occasions. It’s been a brief acquaintance. It’s funny how you can meet someone and think you know them, just because you’ve interacted with them a few times but the one who knows us, and all things completely is God.

‘Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely.’

1 Corinthians 13:12

A chance video I stumbled across on social media opened up a vast window into a world largely unknown to me, lived by this beautiful couple. I came away from my discovery, feeling refreshed, more in tune with the intention of their hearts and understanding that there was so much more to them than could be seen from externals, a few chance meetings and brief conversations.

Do we really know anyone…? I mean really know, the under the surface, heart-like knowing… the bare ‘when nobodies around’ truest essence of who people are? The guy whose face is plastered all over the front pages of the tabloids for sexual offences, the road man that peddles drugs on the local estates near where we live, do we know them?

I hear your silent No.

We’re quick to run our mouths, jump to conclusions, make assumptions, estimations and inferences about who we think people are!

Is it any wonder then, that God asks us not to judge anything before the appointed time, when all things will be laid bare and He exposes the true motives of hearts? (1 Corinthians 4:5).

We know nobody!

That road man we shake our heads at, may actually be, purposed, in the plan of God;  to be an instrument like ‘Paul’ (the Apostle). We never see the full picture of who a person is, why they act the way they do, the real root of the reasons for their actions and even social media only tells half the story (if that), with lots of bits edited out.

If we’re really going to be the people that God has called us to be in 2020 and beyond, to be an expression of His love to a confused world, a broken society of disaffected hurting people, we must learn to refrain from making assumptions about who people are.

I’ll never forget the day God showed me His heart for gay people… YES, Father God loves gay people! I came away from a conversation around ‘God’s love’ with a gay guy I met in a shopping mall, with tears in my eyes.

‘so we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:16 (NLT)

I felt God’s love for Him saturate my heart, as I spoke to Him and told him unapologetically that God loved him. I could literally see the exterior wall guarding his heart start to crumble, as he shared that he was from a Christian family who disdained him because of the lifestyle he had chosen.

I was enabled to tell him that Jesus came to save all of us from our sinful nature (the root cause of all sin) but loves us unconditionally. I also added that God surely loved him enough to make sure I bumped into him twice on the same day (can you believe that!), just to tell him that He loves Him and wants him to know that love too!

He responded by saying he was quite intuitive, felt that this was more than a mere coincidence and believed that there was a deeper reason for our chance meeting.

It was a start, a bridge to a frozen heart that felt rejected, hurt and unloved… God has the blue print and is the only one who knows who each person really is.

Let’s keep building bridges…

 

 

The blind leading the blind

The hype begins, in fact, it has already started – ‘2020 The Year of this and that’, ‘3 ways to…’, ‘How to…’, I’m sure you get the picture

I have an older friend in her seventies who’s hilarious. She told me about a singing performance that she had agreed to. She was going to sing a hymn but take the bold step of singing it in her native language; Yoruba.

On the day after the performance, I called her up to ask her how it went, she replied with the words, “it was a disaster with a capital D!” Even before she’d finished the sentence I was cracking up with laughter.

She said even though she’d practiced the song over and over, when the moment of reckoning came, it suddenly dawned on her that her brain was not like it was some thirty odd years ago. The overhead projection of words promised her didn’t materialise and try as she might, to read the words from her phone through the lenses of her glasses, she still couldn’t see them!

She ended up fumbling over the words of the verse and then latching on to the only part of the song that she could remember clearly, repeating the words of the chorus over and over; like an iTunes song on repeat!

To her horror, while she was stood, hoping that the ground would open up to swallow her, members of her Church congregation took to their feet, dancing; while two brave old ladies took the lead, danced to the front where she stood, forming a troupe and joining in the ‘confused dot com’ singing with her.

She commented jokingly to me during our conversation, that from the back of the car that disastrous evening, she could hear her Pastor happily humming the tune of the mashed-up hymn she’d sung, as he drove her home on his merry way!

I hope you found the re-enaction of this scenario as funny as I did but on a more serious note, many of us live our lives just like the Church congregation mentioned above, blindly following the blind.

My friend had made a complete hash of the song but the unsuspecting congregation, oblivious to the fact that she was fumbling and couldn’t remember the words, had joined in singing; dancing to a faulty rendition of a song.

As we enter into a New Year, the hype begins, in fact, it has already started – ‘2020 The Year of this and that’, ‘3 ways to…’, ‘How to…’, I’m sure you get the picture.

‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’ – Daniel 12:4

Words from the lips of voices spewed across social media; Politicians, Celebrities, Social Media influencers, Instagrammers, You Tubers and Face bookers alike, will offer a multitude of suggestions, ideologies, philosophies and beliefs for us to feed our minds on and follow but there is one distinct voice I’d like to encourage you to listen out for…

Incline your ear, and come to me. Hear and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David. – Isaiah 55:3

Yes, precious one, it’s the voice of God, the one who holds the truth, given to us in His son Jesus. It’s a voice that can’t be heard in the clutter of noise or the hype; a voice worth seeking for!

Let’s be like the Berean Christians, who were open-minded and searched the Scriptures daily to see if the message of salvation was true (Acts 17:11) and like the ‘sons of Issachar’, who understood the times, to know what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Jesus stated confidently, that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life… don’t you think we ought to listen out for what He has to say?

Commune Unity

I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses as people groups……. this is what He has called us to – young and old, black and white, rich and poor; a coming together of all

I stopped, looked around, and stood listening to the noise and buzz of voices in the Refresh cafe. It was a moment of revelation, the Lord made me think the words ‘commune’ and ‘unity’, this is what He has called us to – young and old, black and white, rich and poor; a coming together of all, as one under Christ.

This may seem like a tall order, but this should be our norm. The acceptance of our cultural differences, knowing that Christ is all and in all. Our cultural nuances fade into the background as we become immersed in Kingdom culture…the culture of heaven. How beautiful that Christ expresses Himself through us in different flavours, through the young, the old, the Mexican, the Swiss, the Nigerian, but all is Christ.

I remember an incident once, that I now regret deeply. Steeped in the comfort of my cultural familiarity, hanging out with a group of people of similar ethnicity, I laughed at a sarcastic comment made about the idiosyncrasies of the people around us who were culturally different. I immediately felt uncomfortable and reprimanded by the Holy Spirit.

I experienced a move of God through the preaching of a man culturally different to majority of the people present at a worship event…God’s Spirit moved powerfully through him. In conversation with somebody about the meeting a week later, I was saddened to hear a comment someone had made about his estimation of the man’s preaching the previous week.

That comment threw a dampener on the treasured encounter I’d experienced, as I listened intently to that very same preacher the previous week.

During a leadership meeting a while back, discussion ensued around a subject two different racial groups of young Christians had opposing views on. I could feel the adrenaline rising up within me as someone commented on how they couldn’t understand how one of the groups of young Christians couldn’t see things from the perspective of the other group.

Assumptions had been made, that suggested one racial group of young Christians was right and the other wrong. Conversation centred around the opinion that this particular group always ended their prayers with a specific declaration that the other racial group (plus majority of the leaders) were unfamiliar with, and therefore deemed unnecessary and irrelevant.

I hear this same prejudice echoed through the expressions and voices of my own children, through the giggling voices of the young students that huddle together in tight knit cultural cocoons upstairs on their bus journeys to and from School.

I see it in the natural formations of groupings that tend to occur when various people of differing ethnicity are thrown together in the same space. Galatians 3:28 says:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

And Colossians 3:11 reiterates this by saying:

“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

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Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Community requires us to become uncomfortable, to step outside of our norms and comfort zones. Right now, we only embrace cultural differences on our own terms… when we travel abroad on holiday and savour the different foods and ways of life of the indigenous people of the nations we visit. But to live-in close-knit community with them? Now that’s a different story!

Have you ever considered what it must have taken Jesus to leave the glory, comforts and familiarity of heaven to live among a depraved culture of human beings? A specie of self-focused, self-seeking, loveless people.

Jesus took it one step further, He took it upon Himself to die for us humans, while we were still His enemies! How about that for any of us who are struggling to bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ from differing ethnicities.

The subject of racial divides has plagued the world for centuries, and is something that activists like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela fought hard to eradicate but in recent times; filtering through from the European migrant crisis, the wake of the Brexit referendum and racial riots/protests in places like the USA (New York City, Chicago, St. Paul, Baton Rouge – 2016), racial relations have started to deteriorate.

To commune is to have people living together, sharing possessions and responsibilities and to be unified is to be one, joined as a whole. The concept of community, unity and love is the basis on which God’s Kingdom is founded.

God laid the foundation for Community when He brought the Jews and Gentiles together as one in Christ. Paul openly lashed out at Peter in a bid to eradicate division and prevent it taking root in the heart and minds of God’s people when he became hypocritical about mixing with the Gentiles:

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy
– Gal 2:11 – 13

We are none of us perfect and I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses as people groups, so why don’t we turn it on its head, encourage and tease out the strengths in us, as a diverse body of believers.

One heart, mind, vision, people, and purpose all under God. The Father, son and Holy Spirit are one, in three expressions… the Father – protector, defender, authority, lover, the Son – embodiment of the Father, brother, sacrifice, the Holy Spirit – helper, comforter, friend.

Likewise, we are one body; one people with different strengths and graces, forming one new race… one new humanity.

 

 

 

Reset to default

I was hyped up by the slogan ‘Do whatever it takes’……. When our lives are all messed up, we need to reset to default, just like I had to reset my body clock.

Have you ever had to reset your phone, or electrical appliance to the manufacturers default setting, due to a glitch or malfunction in the way it was performing?

I recently had to reset my body clock. Being a morning person, with a natural inclination for producing absolutely anything in the early hours of the morning, I recently decided to work differently. Over the period of a week, I forced myself to wake up in the middle of the night, to complete an urgent project that I was working on.

The mornings had always been my saving grace. I could produce absolutely anything, from banana bread, poetry, lesson plans and blog posts to the day’s meals, while the dew settled, it was still dark, and the rest of the world were still asleep. It worked for me. I’d functioned that way since my children were small.

There’s just something beautifully refreshing about the mornings, that tugs at my soul and the core of who I am.

I was hyped up by the slogan ‘Do whatever it takes’, which was the motivation behind my venture in joining the bandwagon of people who thrive by staying up late, or waking up in the middle of the night to complete tasks. The night owls.

I managed to progress with work on the project but was rewarded with stress, feeling out of sorts, people asking how I was, then telling me that I looked tired.

At the end of that grueling week, after telling God that it wasn’t working, I embraced the truth… I wasn’t a night person, never had been and never would be.

The following day, I worked on the project up till a reasonable hour (in my estimation), put it down, went to bed, got a full night’s sleep and woke up with a smile on my face. I reset my body clock to its default.

Sometimes our lives are like that – out of sorts, nothing working in the way it should, confusion surrounding the purpose of our lives and the place in which we find ourselves.

Perhaps we set out in life hoping to achieve great things, to be the change that we want to see but have ended up depressed, insecure, in debt, disappointed by our constant need for a man or woman’s body to give us a quick fix, and lacking in confidence, focus and direction.

When our lives are all messed up, we need to reset to default, just like I had to reset my body clock. We need to reset our lives to line up with the manufacturers original setting. God is the manufacturer of our lives and has the blue print and plans detailing who we are and what we’re created to do.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” [Jeremiah 29:11 NIV]

God knows we’re messed up, that’s why Jesus, His son, died to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit to be with us, help, direct, and enable us to be the people He created us to be.

Truth is, without the manufacturers Manual (God’s word), the help of God’s Spirit and a willingness by us to hear, trust, believe and obey Him, our lives will always malfunction.

We can pretend, giving people the impression that we’re doing okay without God’s help, love and direction but in those moments when we’re confronted with our weaknesses; and the truth of who we really are, we long for something more of ourselves.

God loves us deeply and wants to do something awesomely amazing with our messy lives; the failures, mistakes and regrets. Can I encourage you today to respond to the overwhelming love that He so desperately wants to lavish on us… go on, one taste of His love is all you’ll need.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” [Matthew 11:28 – 30 NIV]

 

Good Good Father

He’s a good, good Father, unlike many of us…We could have prostituted ourselves, murdered and ended up in prison but when we return to Him, He sets us on the path for the good life

 

If you’re a parent, or as a growing teenager or young adult you ever went against the wishes of your parent, you’ll get it. Your child who you love so dearly, hasn’t listened to you yet again! They’ve stayed out much later than the agreed curfew and they arrive at the front door in the middle of the night, with a sheepish, guilty look on their face.

Expecting you to let loose, shout or scream at them, their gaze is lowered in a stance reflective of condemnation but in your heart, you’re just happy that they’re home safe and sound. In fact, your instinct is to hug and kiss them, but you stop yourself short of expressing your true feelings, thinking something along the lines of – ‘I need to let them know I’m not pleased about what they’ve done… have you been there?’

Have you experienced any of the sides of this coin as, a parent or young adult? I have.

God’s arms are always open wide and He’s a good, good Father, unlike many of us. When we turn up after squandering precious years of our lives living recklessly, ignoring God, messing up our lives; bodies souls and Spirits, He stands at the door with arms open wide to welcome us back into His embrace.

You are good, and you do good… (Psalm 119: 68)

It doesn’t matter what we’ve done. We could have prostituted ourselves, murdered and ended up in prison. We could have lost all grip on reality and be a junky who’s mind is all messed up. We could be sick and in Hospital due to addictions to alcohol, food or a host of other substances, but when we return to Him, He wipes out tears, cleans us up, heals us and sets us on the path for the good life that He intended for us before we ever went astray.

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Our perceptions about who God is have been distorted by men’s darkened minds; warped assumptions that have no bearing on the God who loves us so much, that He allowed His son to leave the glories of Heaven, come to planet earth (which by the way is a far cry from the splendour and magnificence of paradise), and lay His life down, so that we might live.

Have you ever been scammed by a fake designer label, or tricked into buying a food brand that looked so like the original that you couldn’t tell the difference? Our perceptions about God are very much like that.

One of the major ways to spot the difference between the fake and the real, is to be so familiar with the original that you could discern a fake a mile off.

The person who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and reveal Myself to Him [I will make Myself real to him] – John 14:21 (Amp)

The key to getting beyond the lies formed about God in our minds and by popular opinion of society, is to become directly acquainted with Him. We can know God.

It’s time to be introduced to our Father… the good, good Father, the real Father.

Talk to Him today. Tell Him your thoughts, give Him your fears, your worries, talk to Him about your failures, ask Him for help. Listen to what He’s saying to you through His word and by His Spirit. He’ll never turn you away – trust me, I know…

 

 

 

Beyond The Call of Duty

God is calling us to a relationship that is deeper than anything we could ever experience based on our dutiful service…

Drudgery, force, monotony, chore, work, labour, military service and slavery are some of the terms that come to mind when we think of the word duty, but is this what God is really calling us to?

Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10: 41 – 42 paraphrased).

The word relationship is bandied about quite widely today, in reference to our relationship with Father God and although we say we are in relationship; what does this really mean? To be in relationship with God, the unseen lover of our souls.

Reading through parables like the ‘Talents’, ‘The labourers in the vineyard’ and others like this in the Gospels, we’re drawn to the urgency of the times. So much to do and truly the harvest is plentiful but the labourers few! So we panic and out of this place of unrest, drift into an unconscious service to God born out of duty and anxiety. Can you relate?

Reading the bible because that’s what we know is expected, or because we want things to go well for us today. Serving in our local fellowships because we’re seeking to earn God’s love, favour, protection and the approval of man.

This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us… (1John 4:10)

Our walk with God should be based on a foundation of His love towards us. Our worship, service and prayer; a response flowing out of a love that has been birthed in our hearts because we’ve tasted, experienced and been immersed in the overwhelming love that He has for us – ‘God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’…. (Romans 5: 8).

That’s while me and you were still hooked on porn, sleeping around with other people’s husbands, over-indulging in food, masturbating, hating our neighbours, murdering and living selfish lives; God looked at us and said, ‘I love you so deeply that I’m going to die in your place’! I mean, who does that?

If that doesn’t woo and draw our hearts towards Him in love, I don’t know if anything ever will. There is something about the ferocity of His love towards us that causes us to yield to Him in surrender, much like a woman surrendering to the desire and advances of her lover.

This love causes us to cry out for Him to fill us with more of His Spirit. We ache and long for more of Him, and when His love captivates and flows through our hearts, it causes us to be drawn  towards others in love.

We become filled with more of Him and are awakened to the needs of others around us and less concerned with our own needs, wants and desires.

We’re drawn to read His word because we long to hear what He’s saying and not because we have to read His word. We want to spend time with Him and sing songs of worship and praise to Him because we’re in love with Him, not because it’s a formula for making ‘the blessings come down!’.

‘Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! An elopement with my King – lover! We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing, we make great music. Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine. Everyone loves you- of course! And why not…..? (Song of Solomon 1: 4 – 6 MSG).

We serve Him because we’ve become intoxicated with His love… His love has captured our hearts; His perfect love casting the fear out, and we are enabled to serve out of a place of rest, of peace, love and of acceptance.

From this place, we are empowered and compelled to exceed anything we could ever have done out of a sense of duty; our hearts respond saying “here I am Lord, you gave me your life, I give you my all”

We are Sons, we’re accepted, and we are loved.

 

The watered down drink

Is your life like a watered down drink? An offer of flavour but taste of blandness…. It’s time to add saltiness and let your light shine!

With a group of young people, after a game of laser tag on a recent blazing hot day;  we popped into McDonald’s to get cold drinks. I chose a mango and pineapple iced smoothie. My expectation was greatly dampened when I took a first sip through my straw. Expecting my taste buds to be met with a burst of tropical flavours, I was horrified at the blandness of the taste of my smoothie (I’m not having a go at McDonald’s, honestly!)

The accounts and escapades recounted in the gospels are exciting and impelling, beyond our imagination and out of this world! Early disciples full of the Spirit of God brought God’s Kingdom to bear on the earth! Lives were transformed, weak men became bold to the point of martyrdom. Lepers were healed, the dead were raised, others were imprisoned, persecuted and killed for their faith; but what can be said about our faith (that’s if you have a living faith) today?!

Have we become like a watered down drink? What has happened to our flavour, our saltiness?

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Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot – Matthew 5: 13 

I’m guessing it may be either of two things; the first being that we don’t really understand what this message is all about, and think that being a follower of Christ is nothing more than making a declaration of faith (saying that you’re a Christian).

Saying that you’re a Christian is just the beginning! Then comes the active surrendering of our ways of thinking, living and doing life. The realisation that there is nothing good in us. The letting go of and allowing God to change  desires that are opposed to the ways of His Kingdom. The resolution to become true disciples and followers of Christ, after all, our old ways of life ultimately lead to death – our self-focused, ‘me as the centre of the universe’ orientated lives. It’s a total upheaval of our former lives!

The second being that we probably haven’t been endowed with the power from on high – that’s what gave the early disciples the power, boldness, and ability to do the things recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 2: 1 – 4).

Although God wants us to do amazing things for His Kingdom, the power to do these things comes from Him, and may I add by the way, that He supplies the willingness to want to do these things as well (Philippians 2: 13). It all comes from Him. More and more I’m finding that a lot of people who profess to be following Christ have actually in reality, only taken on a form of religion – a way of trying to live a good life that pleases God.

THE TRUTH IS, with the best will in the world we can’t be good; no matter how hard we may try – that’s the whole point of the gospel, Jesus changing the hearts of men through HIS power. The world needs the life of God that is on the inside of us. They need to see the exploits, the miracles, the transformative power of God at work in us.

‘A city set on a hill cannot be hidden’ – Matthew 5: 14 

They shake their heads in mockery when we say that we’re Christians, but have nothing to show for it, no transformation, no power, no testimonies, no good news to share with them. No salt and light to brighten this worlds dark horizons. Child of God, aren’t you tired of living a life of insignificance, hypocrisy and mediocrity?

If anything you’ve read tugs at your heart strings, can I encourage you to pray this simple prayer…

Dear Father, I’m sorry. I know that I haven’t been true to you and really want to live each day for you. I realise that I can’t live the Christian life in my own power and ask you to live your life through me. Give me an understanding of what it really means to follow you. Fill me up with the power of your Spirit. Teach me, lead me, guide me and use me.

 

Are you blooming?

Are we sabotaging God’s plan to make us into a beautiful expression of His handiwork…

One thing I absolutely love about summer is seeing flowers in full bloom. The vibrant whites, reds, pinks, lilacs, purples and yellows, often captivate my attention, causing me to stop, stare, smell, and capture the beauty of a garden’s dazzling flower display on my iphone’s camera. I love the transition from Spring when flowers first begin to sprout and bud, to summer when flowers flaunt an array of beautiful colours. Then comes winter when the flowers shrivel up and die, having done what they were created to do.

I often wonder whether our lives cause God (and the people around us), to stop in amazement, and glory in the wonder of our unique creation. The life cycle of a flower can serve as a metaphor for our lives. Are we in full bloom? Are we doing the things that He has asked us to do? Have we allowed ourselves to be nourished  and fed by the rain of God’s Spirit and His word; like a seed needing the nourishment of sun and water to grow into a blossoming flower?

Are we sabotaging God’s plan to make us into a beautiful expression of His handiwork because we don’t understand the process He’s taking us through, and are not willing to stay the course? Or our we filling our hearts and minds with the filth and garbage of this world, that stunts our growth and prevents us from becoming the people that we were created to be?

Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, disobedience, fear, sexual impurity, addictions; these are some of the weeds that can attach themselves to our hearts and hinder the process of our growth. Can God boast about us like He boasted to the devil about Job?

“Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
– Job 1:8

We were created on purpose for God’s glory, to be put on display for Him. He’s created us to blossom, just like a flower in bloom. Have you ever looked in awe at the wonder of God’s creation? Niagara falls, the Alps, the Grand Canyon? The Beauty of God’s creation serves to point us to Him, and many people acknowledge the existence of God because of the wonder of His creation. Do our lives cause people to acknowledge the authenticity of God?

God also wants to boast and display His power and wisdom through us just like He did with Job; Ephesians 3:10 says –

So now through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God [in all its countless aspects] might now be made known [revealing the mystery] to the [angelic] rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
– Ephesians 3:10 

What has God created us for? As we seek to unravel this, in the working of God’s plans for us as individuals and members of His Church, let’s remind ourselves that all that we are and can ever hope to be, is for His glory to be seen and revealed in us as we yield to His purposes and allow ourselves to become a beautiful masterpiece…just like a flower in full bloom.