Not striving to reap but simply to sow,

I was thinking this morning about sharing our faith.  One comment I read earlier said:

“It was impossible to feed 5,000 until one shared the little he had. Without even realising it, Andrew’s faith had found the key to the storehouse of God’s ample supply for the needs of the day. What do I have a little bit of today?”

Sometimes we may feel pressured to share with others, it then becomes a kind of false scenario, me trying to tell you how great God is when you are sick of hearing about a God you don’t even believe in.  Sometimes sharing our faith is easy and God opens a really big, well sign-posted door.  Other times it’s about using our giftings from God, quietly influencing and impacting lives by the way we behave, react and share God’s love.  If we make an impact on all we meet God will use that, he will use other experiences in their lives too and eventually it may be that small act or another’s recognition of your faith that helps them turn to God.

Acts 13:15 – “If you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

SHARING

Sharing, talking about or maybe just going about my faith in an honest way, providing friends with an easy camaraderie that provides times of naturally going deep, not striving to reap but simply to sow, to encourage others to grow, my personality is of value, my transformation a statement of your redeeming grace, a place to start the conversation, my obsession to take broken hearted smiles, human stresses and trials and drip feed in your love, a shower of blessings from my God above, gradually filling the void with perfect joy and peace, rubbing shoulders with friends who notice the crumbs and find their way to the plate, it’s never too late to demonstrate God’s outrageous qualities by being all he chose us to be, each of us blessed with a different personality, each of us a shining light and yes there are so many types of light there’s not one right or wrong way to be, just ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide, don’t try so hard, don’t force the chat, just give it to God and sit back and see how he makes a path in the wilderness, see how he gives you opportunities to address your friends and family, see how he uses your unique ability to share your hope with grace and humility.

He may be planning a hostile takeover

I was using the Lord’s Prayer as my basis for prayer this morning and when concentrating on the “lead us not into temptation” part, the verse from Corinthians came into my head that tells us God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

Was interesting then that doing my daily reading they highlighted the verse before it, “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall..”

1 Corinthians 10:11-13 -These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

If you take all that in the context that sometimes when we stand up for Jesus we are making ourselves more of a target for the enemy.  It is a fair warning, although I know I am strong in my faith I also know that Satan will use thoughts, the words of others or maybe the lack of words of others to try and upset me or tempt me and I have to keep my armour on at all times.  God is faithful and he will provide a way out, trust him on that.

LEAD ME NOT

Lead me not into temptation, may Satan’s lies get lost in translation, I have no hesitation in telling Satan his time is over, for I’m no pushover, he may be planning a hostile takeover, but I am covered by the blood of Jesus, resuscitated, brought back to life, this is my life, my choice, my voice and yes I rejoice at my God’s faith, Jesus already pleaded my case and I am not guilty, free and redeemed,  looked after, looked out for by my God and my friend.

It’s time I turned up the volume

Expect the unexpected.  That’s my covenant with God today.  When I pray I’m going all out to expect the unexpected, to return to a childlike state when it comes to my faith, to pray in thankfulness and trust, to request and expect miracles, to rise up, rise above and claim breakthrough after breakthrough.

Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

2 Peter 1:3- His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

EXPECTATIONS

Expect the unexpected, the expected well that’s just the beginning it’s the unexpected that changes our lives, remain focused on God in prayer remembering that he has layer upon layer of gifts to lavish on us,  the first gift, well that was Jesus and look what he did, he died on a Cross, unexpected, Son of God who could have overpowered his guards and fled the scene, would you ever dream that he would allow himself to die for you, unexpected, and doesn’t that just illustrate the point, we are anointed to do God’s work, anointed to proclaim freedom and I am going to start dreaming big, believing in God’s covenant that he will do even more than we ask or imagine, so it’s time I turned up the volume and declared my faith in God, nothing too hard for him, nothing too demanding and I am demanding this of myself that I never ask for less than the best, I never rest in lukewarm prayer but that I am always there asking big, believing in God’s power and might, getting right to the point, claiming God’s promises for every situation, rocking the foundations, serving my Father in praise and adoration.

I know my time to dance is just around the corner

Our sermon this morning was about faith and the following verses were included.  It spoke volumes to me at the moment as I struggle in this storm of grief and I just realised that Jesus was in the boat with me if only I would keep my eyes fully focussed on him.

Matthew 8:23-27 – And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

I was also thinking about the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35.  Jesus wept, it doesn’t say Jesus cried, it says Jesus wept and to me that shows me that Jesus really knew the kind of grief I am feeling.  Thinking of that is a great comfort, Jesus knows what this feels like and he is totally in the boat with me.

IN THE BOAT

Jesus you are in the boat as I hold on during these storms, I keep my eyes on you, knowing that with you I am safe, I am secure and blessed, the storms may mess around with my head but the enemy’s lies, well they’re dead, they can’t touch me cos I am daughter of the living God, however hard he tries to pull me down he won’t remove this crown from my head as I wait to cast if before you in eternity, and I have a certainty that you understand the weeping and the tears, I know that this time of grief is something you relate to as you wept too, you wept in sorrow and anguish, grief something which you have felt and I believe as I grieve now you reach out and grasp my hand, you understand and demand nothing of me at this time, a time to mourn, I know my time to dance is just around the corner, living water wash over me, sustaining and restoring me, comforting and reassuring me, staying in the boat with me until I’m ready to be called out onto the sea.

He took me from that place of death

Just love reading Ephesians I think it’s the most inspirational book in the Bible for me.  I have just taken Ephesians 2 and interpreted it from my perspective in life.  Before I met Jesus I knew my life wasn’t complete but I don’t think I realised then that I was “dead” in my sins.  But now I am free I can look back and totally get it, wow praise God for the gift of faith he has given me.

Ephesians 2: 1-10 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

NO LONGER A FOLLOWER OF THE WORLD

A follower of the world, gratifying the craving of my flesh with impure thoughts, adulterated desires, I was dead, my prospects hopeless yet I didn’t notice as I followed the ways of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, he who delighted in my fall and like all those other sinners I was by nature deserving of God’s anger, like a dagger piercing my heart I start to see how my sin defined me until God who is rich in mercy forgave me, all this because of unconditional love, outrageous grace that saved me, raised up by a compassionate God, raised up with his own son and seated with him in heavenly places so that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, an expression of kindness, a healing of my blindness, he rose me up, took me from that place of death, rescued through grace, through faith given me as a gift by God who loves me, I cannot boast, I cannot claim that this was me, this was of God and for his glory, me, God’s handiwork, me, created by him to do good works, me, finally face to face with the plans he prepared in advance for me to do, alive with Christ, seated in heavenly realms, overwhelmed, a follower of Jesus, dead to my transgressions and my sins and now at last my life begins.

Double portions begging to be claimed

Sometimes God asks us to do things that seem tough or difficult or a bit out of left field.  In my reading today I was thinking about Ananias who was asked to go to meet Saul and to lay hands on him.  How random that must have seemed after all the persecution coming from Saul, yet Ananias went. It’s interesting though that he did question God first, it shows that God recognises and accepts our human frailties and gives us space to come to terms with his calling on our lives without reproach.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

HE MAKES A WAY

It has been said that God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, sometimes I don’t feel that strong but you know there’s part of me that knows my weakness is perfected in his strength, you need to get on God’s wavelength to understand the plans he has, they are no ordinary plans, you could not predict the stuff he might ask you to do, but you do know he will remove all the mountains and make a way in the wilderness if he’s asked you to do it, I guess he’s asking us to show some faith, to step out and step up, to claim the cup that overflows with blessings, double portions begging to be claimed when we step out in Jesus name, and sometimes that small voice of doubt rises and in private I might say God why me, what can I give to this situation, surely you’ve someone a little less broken, someone more experienced, more holy, more suited, but God, well his choice cannot be disputed he sees when we’re rooted in his love, absorbed in his word, stirred up and ready to serve, he sees our hearts and knows our minds we have no fear of condemnation as we step out in faith and obey him.

Let our lives showcase the faith we have in Jesus

2 Corinthians 9:22-23 – …..I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

Been thinking about how we witness and to be honest there are so many opportunities daily that we probably just let pass us by.  Witnessing isn’t just about evangelising or talking directly to someone about God, it’s so much more.  In Corinthians It says “by all possible means”.  To me that could be through our behaviour, through one random act of kindness, through how we talk to someone, walk away from gossip or non-Christian conversations, what we post on social media and what we don’t post, making ourselves stand out for all the right reasons so on the day one of our friends really hits rock bottom they know who they can turn to, or when they need someone to confide in someone they know who they can rely on they know where we are.  That then paves the way for further witness.  Of course when the obvious God given opportunities arise to offer to pray for someone we should not be shy in coming forward, let’s win some people for his Kingdom.

WITNESSING

Witnessing, bringing God’s love to every situation in every location by all possible means, I mean it’s not about forcing the gospel on those unable to interpret its relevance to their predicament, but through love and persistence trickling the message of the gospel into their hearts, standing apart from the crowd, the message becoming louder as our lives showcase the faith we have in Jesus, as our behaviour mirrors that of our Saviour as his love shines through our actions, our satisfaction seen as desirable, as God turns around the impossible we can show others that his love is unstoppable, unchangeable and whatever label they put on their lives it’s nothing he cannot forgive, nothing he hasn’t already forgiven and through us being so committed our witness will speak for itself, share in the blessing of the gospel, become a modern day apostle.