Am I my body or am I my soul living in this outer shell

Does anyone else struggle sometimes with making snap judgments about people.  Working in the retail industry I meet literally hundreds of people each year.  Since becoming a Christian I am less likely to judge people by outward appearance, but every so often I fail.  Interestingly the other day I was talking to a guy who I had made a snap judgment on and turned out as we got talking that he was a church goer and had recently visited Jerusalem on a tour.  Isn’t it great that God does not look at the outside of us, but straight into our hearts?!

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’

I also love Psalm 139 where God goes even further, he knows when I sit down, when I get up, my thoughts before I think them, my words before I say them.  God surrounds me, his knowledge is incredible, his thoughts towards me beyond my comprehension.

It reminds me not to judge but also reminds me not to react if someone fails to see the real me, cos God knows the real me and that’s all that matters.

BODY OR SOUL

Am I my body or am I my soul living in this outer shell, can you tell what I’m thinking when you look into my eyes, if I am tall does that make me better than someone who’s small?  If I am fat do you wonder what causes me to indulge, when you see my tattoos do you think I’m a loser or are you someone who’s easily impressed by outward appearance, if I showed you my scars would you think I was damaged goods, someone who couldn’t cope with life unless they are clutching a knife, do you hear me talk and think I’m an outsider, do you see what I’m reading and think it’s beneath you, do you see me walk into church and think that’s my crutch, a place for those who don’t have much else going for them, do you condemn me for my faith, do you proverbially spit in my face, well that’s OK, what I can say is I don’t need your approval, I don’t need to have you love me, to endorse my choices, I don’t need human voices to tell me I’m doing OK, I am a child of God, God who looks past the surface, he disregards the body and looks straight to my heart, he knows what I think, he knows my motivation, my fixation on serving him with all that I have, he looks upon me and that makes me glad, he looks at my soul, the soul he made whole, he looks past my shell into the very heart of my being, he is all seeing, all knowing, my loving Saviour whom I will serve forever.

I remember where I was when God chose me

Sadly, in this world, we are often judged by our outer appearance.  There are unrealistic pressures imposed by elements of the press and society to look a certain way, making many people dissatisfied or unhappy with themselves.

With God there are no such pressures.  In fact, God looks at the heart.  Check out the story of how David was anointed, youngest of eight brothers God chose him.  He was probably pretty insignificant within his own family, not the strongest, the most intelligent and probably not even the best looking (but that’s speculation!) as the youngest he would have been overlooked on many occasions for one of his older, more experienced brothers.  But God chose him, God knew he was the right person because God saw into his heart (1 Samuel 16).

Isn’t that great news for us.  God sees into our hearts and chooses us for service based on our heart.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you see as your faults, God bypasses that and goes straight to the important place, your heart.

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 –  My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families.  But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.

What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important.  God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him.  You are God’s children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy.

I REMEMBER

I remember where I was when God chose me, I remember how the world scorned me for my sexuality, I recall the shame heaped on me, the blame I put on others who scarred me, I remember that empty feeling, the nights just staring at the ceiling, angry feelings overwhelming me, fear and anxiety crippling me, the enemy gripping onto me and I failed to see that anything good would come out of me, but Jesus you saw my heart, you saw the treasure deep inside this clay vessel, you saw beauty rising from the ashes, flashes of potential which you knew with gentle handling could be fashioned into something outstanding, a glorious reflection of your power, a transformation like no other, you the potter took the clay and made it what it is today, you looked past my flaws, opened the door of my heart took all that was good and made it better, you searched deep within to find the treasure.

donor register contains one name only, Jesus

I read an interesting thing today, a heart transplant requires a diagnosis, a doctor and a donor.  So thinking about Ezekiel 36 – we all need a new heart because we were born with a heart of stone, because we were born without God in our lives.  The diagnosis comes when we recognise that we are sinners and require God’s grace and the donor, well that’s clearly Jesus.

  • Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 – if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come
  • Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me

HEART TRANSPLANT

Regeneration, transformation, create a new me, the diagnosis a heart of stone, the prognosis death if no donor can be found, donor register contains one name only, Jesus Christ who claimed victory over death when he died for you, he died for me, a new heart offered in love, a new heart to beat in my body, a new heart and a new spirit, a new creation, the old gone, the new has come, my spirit renewed, my spirit is right with God and all because God wants to give us freedom, Jesus wants us to be in the heavenly Kingdom alongside him, he’s coming back for his bride, he’s coming back for those who are alive in him cos he is alive in us, he lives in us, Jesus abides in me, my heavenly father sees my heart and yes some parts may still be hard and need some refining, but that’s OK cos God is defining me, changing me into something that he can use, someone to spread his good news, someone to set the prisoner free, to be everything he planned me to be, praise God in the highest, may I shine the brightest in this world of darkness, may I love like Jesus our God incarnate.

He sees you sitting under that tree waiting for him

Where were you when Jesus found you? I love this verse about Nathanael:

John 1:48 – Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree. I saw you there before Philip called you.”

We see that Jesus knows exactly where we were when he called out to us, whether we feel like we followed Jesus or he called us, one thing is clear, Jesus knew exactly where he would find us and what we would be doing.  That is how intimately God knows us and how significantly he loves us.

JUST ASK

God is the light, in him there is no darkness, there is no hiding from the Light of the World, he sees you sitting under that tree waiting for him, waiting for him to come and fill the void, the hole in your heart that urgently needs surgery, he knows you are hungry and thirsty, and he says “come to me” , come all who are tired and weary, come to me and find your rest, and take it from me it’s the best decision you will ever make, our faithful God doesn’t make mistakes, abundant in love and mighty in provision, he knows where you are and he sees where you’re going, he shows you the way, he will light up your path all you have to do is ask..

I may fear being kicked out of the crowd

I’m getting close to completing my read the Bible in 90 day challenge although to be honest it’s looking like it will be 100 days in total!  Reading Acts has been a great challenge and one that has opened my eyes in many ways.  Today I got to the end and these two verses stood out for me.

Acts 28: 26 – 27 -Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 

I kind of see that our job is pretty much the same as those early Apostles, we need to go to the people and challenge them.  What that challenge looks like may differ with different people but for me I feel it is to challenge them through love.  Through showing them in different ways the immense love God has for them, whether that is through a random act of kindness, a full blown conversation about Jesus, a blessing or healing.  But it is not my job to change their heart.  I am just the vehicle that God uses, if I am obedient to God and do what he asks, he will turn the hearts, open the ears and the eyes and he will heal them.  And ask yourself this question, seriously, how cool is that?

COOL!

Seriously, how cool is that?  Seriously like God opens eyes, he literally makes scales fall away, he opens deaf ears, it’s not that people don’t hear what I’m saying it’s just that it doesn’t go in, they don’t want to hear about sin and stuff, they’ve had enough of religion and they don’t get the difference in what I’m speaking unless God leaps in and paves the way, and then I can say what he wants me to say and the ears will be opened the eyes will see, and people will start to believe but you see it does involve me, I have to be bold, to speak out loud even though I may fear being kicked out of the crowd, being isolated for my beliefs but at least I am trying and any grief I get now is incidental cos I want to be instrumental in God’s great plan, oh man I want to see people healed, I want to bless people, love like Jesus did, no holds barred, I want to show people the scars that Jesus carries and help them see what that means, God’s son died for them, can I get an Amen not from you who are already saved but from those in danger from the grave, those destined for separation from our Saviour if they don’t get a flavour of his love, if they live a blinkered existence, ears blocked, eyes closed, hearts solidified, I cry out to you God let them hear, let them see, let them be open to your sovereignty.

Your condition is not terminal

God fills my heart with joy, if you are not a Christian you probably don’t understand that but it’s so true.  All our lives we spend seeking joy and happiness but it won’t come, you will never be satisfied until God is in your life.  You may find temporary happiness but until you find God it will be just that, temporary.

  • Psalm 90:14 – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
  • Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul
  • Psalm 94:19 – When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought me joy.
  • Psalm 62:5 – Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him

GOD SHAPED HOLE

I can’t explain God’s love but you can experience it for yourself, I can’t give you my faith but you can have your own, I can’t give you peace but I know a  man who can,  I can show you the way, point you in the right direction but you have to make that decision, until you do one thing’s for certain, that God shaped hole in your heart ain’t gonna get filled with sex or drugs or alcohol, it’s not gonna get filled with money or fame, there’s only one way to fill that void, one way to destroy the pain, ask God to take it away, ask God into your heart to fill that part of you that is missing, your condition is not terminal, see God’s love for you is personal his power to change you is unimaginable and OK so it may not be fashionable to wear a label, but being God’s child isn’t that desirable?  God is more than able to fix you, he’s waiting to meet you as you finally acknowledge you really do need him, he’s waiting to show you his eternal Kingdom, to give you peace here on earth, another opportunity a new second birth.

Give me your heart you are worth it

Had an early call this morning from a friend who is half way through the Alpha course.  What do you think Isaiah 12:3 means?

Isaiah 12: 2 – 4 – Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”…

So I told her my interpretation which based on the fact she is doing Alpha and God is drawing her close I said, God’s telling you that he wants you to commit to him, he has so much for you to enjoy.  She then went on to tell me that she had woken in the middle of the night with Isaiah 12:3 clearly in her head.  She woke this morning to read the verse and was now wondering what it meant.  WOW, how great is our God.

TRUST ME

Trust me, do not be afraid of me, do not be afraid of what others might say if you follow me, I will be strong for you, my strength is perfected when you are weak, while you are seeking I am with you, when you find me your heart will soar, a new song will be on your lips as my love eclipses all that worries you, all that holds you back, call on my name and you’ll never look back, you’ll never lack for love for I am your heavenly Father, a Father whose love is perfect, give me your heart you are worth it, give me your life and I will give you yours, don’t hesitate, open the door.