Simple Stuff

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galations 5:26 (NIV)

You have become a Christian, you have surrendered your entire life to God to use you as he wants, no adendums, no codecils, a simple contract. The profundity of this contract is the simplicity.

Skirting around the contract, just signing up to part of it, forgive my sins because I’ll feel a whole lot better after that but I am not stopping this activity or I hear you Lord, calling me to do this one thing but I won’t or can’t do that. Skirting around the contract will never work, you might feel better in a warm fuzzy kind of way but warm fuzzies don’t last. At first you’ll thirst for more warm-fuzzies by attending service regularly, meeting with other Christians, making your own rituals but eventually you’ll feel luke warm fuzzies, and then cool fuzzies and like a leak in the kettle you’ll just leak away. On the way to drifting away you might bring others with you.

I have a friend who is teetering on the brink of doing this and I don’t know what is the right approach. I’ve covered the basics, I have prayed and asked for guidance, I have prayed for the friend, that they may see with their heart the truth of it. I feel very sad to see them drifting away. Am I judging them? No, I have watched the process from the sidelines, in a disconnected way because we are all on our own walk. In the last couple of weeks the distractions of a heart hardening have caused them to hurt people around them. 

That’s what we do. When we are not on the solid ground with deep roots and something happens we lash out, we defend our position, we make ourselves feel we are right, we are the on the moral high ground. That’s when we need to get down on our knees and tell God what is in our heart, ask God for forgiveness for all the things that are hardening our hearts, Lord soften my heart, open the eyes of my heart so I can see you more, I can see the change that can be made.

For a sect that was disbanded centuries ago,there’s a lot of Pharisees in churches. It is difficult when you come up against the legalese because when you have been changed by the grace and mercy and love of God there are no rules, it is a freedom, a freely given freedom which means there’s now stuff you do and conversely stuff you don’t do not because there is a rule but because to do otherwise would be against every fibre,every molecule, every atom of our body and soul. You can’t drift way if you have truly signed the contract. Sometimes the people who are only signed up to a partial contract are the Pharisees, waiting to be offended, waiting to be hurt so they can justify their position.

So I have a friend who is drifting away and I see the Pharisees hovering and I see a bunch of other people who see this playing out and I do nothing, why? Because that is what I feel the Lord wants me to do in this one situation, because I am not conceited in thinking I can change either group. I pray often but I don’t worry. I keep healthy in this unhealthy environment, I keep praying

The profundity of the contract we have with God is it’s simplicity, don’t overcomplicate it. You want warm fuzzies – buy a hot water bottle cover (and a hot water bottle!)

Thinking about Thinking

 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:6-7 (NIV)

The scribes were thinking, they were thinking with their hearts so there was no intentional malice, they were doing their job, the job of thinking with the heart’s discernment. We are all called to think, to think about God, God’s word, other people, but more than that we are called to think and plan. Think how does God want me to be and do it, think what is this passage telling me about my life, what do I need to change, where is there need in God’s people, do I have anything to match – time, resources, prayer. If we think only with our mind we will get in knots, a verse in the bible could turn into an accusatory idea, not because it is but the mind, being full of logic can’t compute it. Like putting a 2 in binary code. “computer says no, brain says no” But when we think through the heart “we get it” We might get it instantly or it might take us days, months, years but eventually we get it. Meditating on God’s word really helps to understand scripture. When I was younger I travelled with one book, a tattered school King James bible, firstly because if it was found at home it would be thrown out and secondly because away from home I always intended to be immersed in the bible, so I could “get” what my Christian friends had. There were barriers, it was in a language I didn’t understand olde worlde English, I went about it like you do any book, start at the beginning which leads me to the next barrier the begetting. That’s where I stopped every time. And finally the real barrier – I had no idea how to understand – my brain said ‘No’. I had no concept of praying before reading until I joined the bible study here on Wednesday nights. Of opening the eyes of my heart, no concept of that at all. So I might as well have picked up my little red book instead and brought it with me for all I ‘got’

The scribes were thinking, but even as the thought was being formed Jesus knew it. He knows us, he knows what we say and do, he sees our ‘good works’ but if they are done without heart, if our thinking is duty rather than love, Jesus knows. When the phone rings and the whole house groans because they know I’ll be caught up in someone else’s drama for an hour do I answer out of duty or love. Love always, that person needs to be heard, their problem or issue needs to be aired and if I’m the only person on this earth they trust then my household can breathe in and out on it’s own for an hour. When three or four people as often happens have the same idea, do I answer the phone for the fourth time with the same love. Yes, because once I didn’t I let it ring and there was an effect, nothing dreadfully dramatic but an effect none the less.

So think, but think with your heart, think in love, because it is amazing the way thought processed change. There’s a technology term ‘fuzzy logic’, my husband thinks I’m suffering from it because I can’t give logical directions to my house, I don’t know how many houses there are on my road unless I name them one by one. What he doesn’t realise is as I name each of the households I pray peace for them, of course I could remember how many houses there are, it’s only a one digit number but I prefer to pray the names of the people. Fuzzy logic allows machines to think like humans, but machines for all the emotions we put on them can’t think like us because they’ll never know the saving grace of Jesus, they’ll never feel the healing power of the Spirit wrapping around us and they’ll never understand the words of the Bible in their heart, because they don’t have one. They can think but the precious gift we have been given of a heart that can think. They’ll not have that!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. fully Submitted

Deep honour and bright glory to the King of All Time-One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes! 1 Tim 1:17 (The Message)

Honour was always a tough one for me, honour means respect and I was sadly lacking respect for most things from a very early age. The first teacher that said “get down from there Susan, do you climb on your furniture at home” got a surprise when I said “yes”. Then I got a clip round the lughole for being cheeky. 

It’s been, therefore a struggle to get to the point where I could respect stuff, respect people, respect me and most of all how because of all this I was falling short honouring God.

The synonyms of honour are: 

account, adoration, adulation, aggrandizement, apotheosis, approbation, 

attention, canonization,celebrationconfidence, consideration, credit,deference, 

deification, dignity, distinction, elevation, esteem, exaltationfaith, fame, fealty, 

glorification, glorygreatness, high standing, homage, immortalization, laud

laurel, lionization,notice, obeisance, popularity, praise, prestige,rank,

 recognition, renown, reputation, repute, reverence, tribute, trust

veneration, worship,wreath

When I look at these certain words stick out for me in relation to God, we adore and exalt him, we praise and worship him, we celebrate his victory over death, we put our trust in him, we have faith in him, and we have confidence in our glorious great God.

So in my journey I got the honour aspect of worshiping God in all the different forms we tend to do in churches. THat didn’t help on a personal level, of being in relationship with him. I returned to scripture and discovered among other things there’s a huge difference between worthless and unworthy.

It was in my quest for trying to get my head around this that I realised I had skipped being a Chrisitan 101, the basics, and had jumped right in where people expected me to be. Wow, what an eye opener and I suspect I’m not the only one around Christian circles who thought one thing about their faith only to discover they too were in the lane at bowling with bumpers.

So how do you move from wearing stabilisers to cycling on your own – there an awful lot of bruising on the way. With each bump and bruise a rough edge is smoothed. The results are palpable, unmistakable, unequivocal. And there’s no turning back, not because you can’t but because you just cannot imagine wanting to.

It’s a whole new way of life. A few years back someone said to me that new Christians wear their new found status on their sleeve, that they talk about it all the time. They said it in a disgruntled way, as if this was not a good thing. Thinking about it now, I’d wear it on both arms and wherever else God wanted it because I can’t stop, and the barriers that seemed to be there when talking to non Christians aren’t there anymore. I want to jump up and down and shout and sing, honouring God all the day, I also want the times of stillness when hearing my own heart beat I spend time with him.

There are different ways of honouring God, loud noisy ways and quiet silent ways and a whole gamut of ways in between – including standing on the furniture if it’s done in his glory, to praise his name.