Brilliantly appointed to do God’s business

I joined a house group last night and was good to meet with some different Christians.  We are studying Ephesians and whilst I had missed the first two sessions it didn’t really matter as we gathered to look at the first part of Ephesians 2.  Despite reading this passage of a number of occasions before, it was good to study it in more depth and underline the fact that God chose me, that God’s grace is what has saved me as I turned to him in faith.  It underlines that no matter how many good works someone does, it won’t make them a Christian, but as a Christian I am designed to do good works that God has already chosen for me to do.  I have a new life because of God’s grace, we considered what our lives looked like before we received that grace and it made God’s love even more real to me.

GOD’S BUSINESS

Remember to whom you belong, stop being who you are and start being who you were created to be, for you who were far have been brought near, accept the love that has no conditions, accept the unlimited depths of love that God has given, his grace, his gifts selected exclusively for you, let God show you how to take who you are and use if for a purpose greater than yourself, after all you are a masterpiece of his Creation, blessed and chosen, by his amazing grace you are saved, all your mistakes serve a purpose instead of serving shame, with God there is no blame, worship his name for the unmerited, undeserved, unearned favour that your Saviour has given to you, no longer parted, no longer distant, brilliantly appointed to do God’s business

Love them and leave the rest to me

I struggled for words this morning as I come crashing down after a particularly challenging counselling session.  The first thing I wrote, well that wasn’t for this Blog, but it revealed to me an incredible hurt that I need to give to God and an admission that there are a number of people in my life who I can’t change.  Much as I want to, that’s not my job and I feel like God has given me the message today to just love them and leave the rest to him.

LEAVE THE REST TO GOD

Love them and leave the rest to me, love them with all your heart, you cannot change what’s in them, that’s not your part to play, that’s mine, God’s. I am their loving Father just like I am yours, just as they cannot change you, your life changed when you allowed me in, your life changed when you recognised the sin that held you back, you can’t put them on track, you need to trust, to love with compassion, to love with no agenda and let me be the one to whisper quietly in their ear, let me be the one to melt their heart, let me be the one who sets them apart, stop striving, stop living life as if you have to be the one to change what you cannot change, rest in me, allow my hand to guide your way, don’t think or say that you’re not enough, failing because you failed to make them listen, that’s not your job, that’s not what I asked of you, just love them as you love me, you have an incredible capacity to love, don’t drown in noise that’s not of me, don’t be afraid of the silence as I speak, don’t see it as a sign of weakness, humble yourself and allow me to take this

We suffer from an earthly condition called dissatisfaction

As he hung on the Cross Jesus said, “I am thirsty”.  Reading the passage today I suddenly got it.  He was not thirsty for water he was thirsty for his Father.  As he was approaching the hour when darkness covered the land, where his Father turned his face away, Jesus longed for that connection.   It was a deep spiritual thirst, it was something he had to overcome in order to save us.  I can’t begin to imagine how hard that must have been, to be separated from his Father’s love for just one second.  Yet he did all that for me…

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

Isaiah 12:3 – With great joy, you people will get water from the well of victory

Psalm 42:2-  In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God.  When will I see your face?

Psalm 143:6 – Then I lift my hands in prayer, because my soul is a desert, thirsty for water from you

Psalm 107:9 – To everyone who is thirsty, he gives something to drink; to everyone who is hungry, he gives good things to eat

Matthew 5:6 – God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want!

John 4:13-14 – Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”

 

WATER OF LIFE

What are you thirsting for, what do you want more of, are you so thirsty for opportunity that you drink from every cup handed to you, just in case, just to see if it satisfies you? I have news for you, nothing on earth will satisfy you, constantly craving something more, more love, more money, more friends, more recognition, we suffer from an earthly condition called dissatisfaction, we are a contradiction, our thirst is never quenched, if the rain drenched us we’d still be dry, if we had all the answers we’d still question why, God’s reckless grace is our only hope, God’s outrageous gift alone can lift us from our state of frustration, as we thirst for something more remember it’s God who pours his water of life into our lives, it’s God alone who satisfies our cravings, he blesses those who choose to obey him, he turns his face towards all who hunger and thirst, he yearns to give you the water of life, he longs to lead you to his light, overflowing joy, praises sounding as we at last drink from his fountain, the fountain that satisfies every hunger, the water that nourishes as we climb the mountains and walk through the valleys, the water that satisfies in totality, if you are thirsty then draw near, come and see, If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

His Grace sufficient with more to spare

Do you ever look back and see God’s hand in your life?  How he has steered you, guided you, created opportunities; basically life is a series of miracles created by God.  How amazing that is, I just feel like although I missed some opportunities that God laid on for me, he still laid on more.  He never gives up or turns his back, he just continues to give us chances until we finally become obedient and then receive the amazing blessing he has in store for us.

MIRACLES

Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles, notice them, my God is extreme, as he leans in he whispers into my ear, do not fear for you are beautiful, you are made in my image,  I didn’t give you a timid spirit, sit up, take notice of the roaring lion within, the warrior spirit, be fearless, be bold, courageous, you will not succumb to temptation, didn’t I mention that you will face nothing you cannot bear, my Grace sufficient with more to spare, my God is outrageous, he makes me courageous in the face of persecution and seclusion I am not abandoned, he never leaves or forsakes me, that is he’ll never leave me in the lurch, part of his church I am surrounded by love and prayer, I’m part of a family, believe me, my God is not moderate, nor is he complicated, outdated, his word does not need to be moderated, he created me, waited for me, a new creation destined to be perfectly led in God’s perfect ways, all of my days ordained in his book, no longer overlooked I bask in God’s love, radiating his light, perfected at last.

God’s laws have been hurled as far as eat from west

I know that before I gave my life to Jesus I had a stronghold in my life that I hadn’t handed to him.  My sexuality was the overriding issue, a stronghold of the enemy that he was not wanting to give up without a fight. The simple question in a sermon, “Have you opened every door of your heart to Jesus” blew this wide open.  I now know the quote from A. W Tozer –

“You can’t truly rest until every area in your life rests in God”

How very true, it wasn’t until I handed that area to God and repented that I could even start to find the peace that I feel today.

How awesome to know that I have that rest and I am reminded of how special that is when I read this verse in Psalm 27.

Psalm 27:4 – One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

ASHES TO BEAUTY

No rest, mind in turmoil, like a coiled spring, nothing going out and nothing coming in, sin weighing heavy on my mind, difficulty finding my way, not wanting to say to God that this sin was hard to give up, this was me, my identity, my sexuality and I had difficulty recognising that I wasn’t born to be this way, I wasn’t born gay, I am a product of a fallen world, a sinful world where God’s laws have been hurled as far as eat from west, man thinks that he knows best, he laughs, he scoffs, he pays the cost, I was lost but Jesus found me, I was heading down the path of sin and shame but Jesus never pointed the finger of blame, his love for me incredibly gentle, he understood the fragility of my mental state, he offered me escape, with Grace he forgave me, with strength he made me capable of turning my life around, I have that promised rest and I ask one more thing of the Lord that I will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, I praise him that I am alive and I can gaze on his beauty, truly I know that I am blessed, what I had then was nothing less than the lies of the enemy who sought to keep me chained and bound, yes I was lost but now I’m found, freedom from the ruler of the heavenly Kingdom, through the ashes I have come.

I gain nothing from being devoid of emotion

As I sit down to Blog today I feel this verse on my heart:

1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I have been battling over the last few days with my feelings for my brother.  When someone dies it stirs up a lot of emotions and thoughts and my mind has been spinning a lot of the time.  If I just put it out there, I didn’t get on with my brother and if I’m honest I didn’t like him much.  OK that’s it in black and white, how does that sound and what kind of Christian does that make me?

But, and it’s a big but, I did love him.  I am really coming to realise that now, I loved him.  If the truth be known we can love someone without liking who they have become or their personality, we can love them because there’s a bond, a shared connection, and I love him because I can see that like me he was damaged, like me he got things wrong and like me he needed God’s grace.

I am reminded of the film sliding doors, how different could we both have been given a different start in life?  We will never know but what I do know is that the greatest gift is love and while it may be too late to say it to his face I can say it here in this Blog, Andy I loved you, I’m mad with you for dying young but I loved you.

LOVE, A GIFT

Love, a gift, a precious gift, love lifts me up it fills me with hope, love helps me cope with anything the world throws at me, love changes my status from sad to happy, love, a bond, a shared connection, a reflection of your thoughts towards me and mine towards you, a complex series of emotions that express my connection to you, if I have no love then I am nothing, I gain nothing from being devoid of emotion, a human reaction to difficult interaction, yet there is no satisfaction in being free if there is no love, I gain strength from my Father above, on earth as in heaven, reminder that I am that new creation, without God I am nothing, by his Grace I’m forgiven.

Delight at the storms for with storms come his solutions

I was reading Isaiah 61 today in the context of how God wants us to live a “Kingdom” lifestyle.  One verse that I hadn’t considered in much detail before was verse 5.

Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards

When looking at the Matthew Henry commentary on this he sheds more light on what this means for us.

“When, by the grace of God, we attain to holy indifference as to the affairs of this world; when, though our hands are employed about them, our hearts are not entangled with them, but preserved entire for God and his service, then the sons of the alien are our ploughmen and vine-dressers. Those whom He sets at liberty, he sets to work. His service is perfect freedom; it is the greatest honour”

Put quite simply when we dedicate our lives to God, when we set out to do his work, he provides for us, he gives us perfect freedom.  We don’t need to sweat the small stuff or the large stuff, God will make a way, God will make it happen.  Awesome!

PERFECT FREEDOM

Perfect freedom, perfection, God has it all planned out, nothing left to chance, he wants us to dance in the rain, delight at the storms for with storms come his solutions, perfect solutions that throw the devil into confusion, when he thinks we should be sinking but instead we are walking on water, he forgets, we are daughters and sons of the most high God, he tries so hard to bring us down, but we will not breakdown, we will breakthrough, breakthrough every barrier claiming ground, turning our lives around, touching the lives of those we meet, our feet running now we’ve gained momentum, we are relentless in our pursuit of holy perfection.