STUMBLING UP

ITS TIME TO STUMBLE

life.pngStumbling, to trip or momentarily lose one’s balance; almost fall, to make a mistake or repeated or to encounter by chance.     That moment when you want to make a good impression to the new admirer, the you look up to, the new boss and without warning your muscle memory is interrupted, in a place where the fear of being seen, or even judged by the stumble is a threat.   Walking down the aisle at a wedding, tripping up to a lectern to address the signatories gathered.   Your less than perfect self-identity comes apart then we regain our composure, try to compensate, cover up or laugh it off, hoping it does not floor us in the corridors of work or the street of life, so you ignore it and move on?

Yet if we are humble, we will settle that most of our advances and achievements are achieved as we STUMBLE into situations and events, it just happens, it came from nowhere.   I know we like to think we produced it, we worked at it, we made it happen, but did we?   This does not take away the hours, days, years of self-discipline we put in, the self-preparation that is necessary, yet the reality is we prepare ourselves physically, mentally in every way, stewarding our lives and all that is entrusted to us, our time, friendship, my physicality, possessions what ever they may be.   Then we stumble into unique circumstances, relationships, situations that never will repeat again.   the weather, the people at that very moment, the unique events around us.   We align with people finding ourselves at start line with a group that is unique only to hear the gun go off, or we make an attempt and we stumble in to the moment, the innovation, the breakthrough.

I read once, “in the world of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind”.   It is the inner life the physical life we prepare for the unknown that invades us we stumble upon.

Unexpected moments, one day a young widow walked in the fields looking for her next provision considering where she should be when “she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech”.   Really does anything “happen”, her stumble put her in the right place, the correct moment.

In our modernist patterns of thinking what is defined, explained, is what we want, to know how it will work but we must hold on to the unprepared rhythm of the Holy Spirit.      The breaking in of God, if we don’t, we will miss God in the moment, we will be those that join the masses that cannot see God, but you are designed to see God in all things.

Our modern technology worries me sometimes, not because the technology worries me, it does not I am a bit of a techno really, however the “filter Bubbles” that day by day we allow to rule our worlds, they dictate who we speak to, whom we see, who we connect with, they gather information on us to send you stuff on the basis of our ‘clicking habits’.

This world is being formed around us, it is a world in our image, yes you did hear me correct our image, but we belong to a world that is made in the image and likeness of the Divine, we are not meant to be in world in our image.   We don’t want to have this fundamental truth taken from us.  Where will we end up if we have a world made in our image in line with our clicking, likes, surfing and web activity, our purchases defining us.

This kind of life in our image will reduce our ability to live it to the full, it will reduce our preparedness for the unexpected, we will be governed and caught in information feed back producing a world that will be unnecessary to cultivate a prepared mind and heart.

This is certainly not a life led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14 ‘For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.   People cultivating a life that is ready to stumble, to take up the unforeseen and respond are the family we belong to.

You and I, who love the Christ are the Eden of God, the Garden of God, the temple, we are
to bring that Garden “..go forth and multiply…” humanity to all of creation, this is our call it’s not an escapism to another place but the union of the Divine with the Divinely created world “…two becoming one…”    We are enticed by other gardens that surround us, the self-designed, the garden modelled on our wants and desires for pleasure.   The garden of GAAF the garden made up from our techno world (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook).   You belong to the Garden of Eden and are to bring this garden to be the greater Garden City we find in Revelation 21, 22.

SO what should we do if we find ourselves caught in the GAAF garden
1            Learn to slow down and come out of the pace of the garden of GAAF to embrace the Garden of God the promised “enter into rest” The rest of Hebrews 4:1-3, the Sabbath rest points back to God’s original rest, and marks the ideal rest—the rest of perfect adjustment of all things to God.   This falls in with the ground-thought of the Epistle, the restoration of all things to God’s archetype.     The Sabbath-rest is the consummation of the new creation in Christ, through whose priestly mediation reconciliation with God will come to pass.
Now, he uses sabbatismos (σαββατισμος), the word used of the Sabbath rest.
The word points back to God’s original rest, and speaks of the ideal rest.    Rest of the nature of God that was there in the first place, it’s still offering to us though Christ.

2           Try getting lost and not know where you are to learn again the big picture, the eternal will of the Father, to learn again to demand on the leading of the Holy Spirit.   to be dependent on the inner life’s leading.

3           Experience the Divine, the life of the ancient living word found in the pages of the Bible, encounter with a person, the Christ might become the word that is living in us not words merely on the page that become our laws.

4          Tolerate vagueness, unknowing, uncertainty, put yourself in mode to learn, in discovery mode.   Re capture what is hugely necessary the ’Mystery of the Gospel’.
As an aside note on this thought, there is a desperate need to recapture apostles today to be those that hold the church to account to be those that hold on the ‘mystery’ of God, it is so important and necessary.   Paul said he was the steward of a ‘mystery’, it is an apostolic characteristic to be stewards of the mystery to God to mature people, grow them up in the mystery.   We have seen the proliferation of apostles in last 40 years across the globe, frighteningly,  with the proliferation has come title and positions BUT A LOSING AND DWINDLING OF MYSTERY?   conclude your selves true apostleship?   To bring about an apostolic people who bring the mystery of Christ to our worlds.Unknown-1

You cannot force God.   You can not force the things you are desperate for, even if it is
above of God but you can provide the conditions, which is YOU and encourage a prepared mind and heart to welcome, get excited in the unknown

Kissing honestly – a Kingdom of God reality.

An Honest answer is like a Kiss on the lips – Kiss of friendship

Proverbs 24:26

imagesI am amazed and shocked how much influence a man can wield…   our TV has been dominated in recent years with talent shows and competitions for all types of people and animals.   Dog trainers, singers, puppeteer, acrobats, martial arts, dancers, individuals and groups alike, all trying their best, programs such as  “….got talent”, “X factor”, “The Voice”, “Idol”, the population that view seem to be oblivious to the program’s design, its aim to be exposing of the unfortunate through flattery, its staging what will be done to get viewing figures, the ridicules along with the talented in a world where we have no failures where we are not to allow any one to fail at anything. 

The voice of one man, one judge is sought on the UK and USA programs, the opinion of the daddy of talent programs Simon Cowell, a judge, it is what all take interest in receiving.   Yet he has acquired a reputation for his severe criticism of the pop-star hopefuls, talent displays. “My attitude has always been, ‘Don’t lie to people,’” Simon says. “Kids turn up unrehearsed, wearing the wrong clothes, singing out of tune, and you can either say, ‘Good job,’ and patronize them or tell them the truth, and sometimes the truth is perceived as mean.”

The real question is, why do people even show up?

Even the untrained ear can discern that many of them can’t sing. Yet they believe with miraculous sincerity that they can make it big. What has happened here?

Someone lied. In an attempt to encourage, a parent or friend or significant other told the hopeful singer that he had the right stuff. In the name of love, someone told him that he should make a CD. Out of a desire to protect the self-image of a young person, someone lied.

Cowell acknowledges that part of his job is to close that gap: “For a lot of contestants, it’s a suspension of belief. Your family and friends say you’re pretty good—and we’re here to stop you.”

 

Before you made a fool of yourself, wouldn’t you want to be stopped? As hard as it may be to hear the truth, as difficult as it may be to accept it, wouldn’t it be more loving and kind if someone said, gently and firmly, “Don’t do this. It’s not good. I like you. I love you. But you’re not a pop star”?

Of course it would. But we’ve lost the ability to tell the truth when the truth is hard.

Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,”  it’s not an honest answer is like a slap on the face. A kiss is something to look forward to…but honesty?

How can these two be similar?

How is a kiss comparable to an honest answer?

A kiss honours relationship.

A kiss brings us close to another and builds relationship.

Risking this type of kiss, we honour one another and our relationships.

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, took a big risk when he told Moses that he was taking on too much responsibility by acting as arbiter of all disputes for the people of Israel: “What you are doing is not good!” (Ex. 18:17 ).   Moses, who was not known for his patience when confronted with the truth, could easily have rejected this advice—and the advisor. However, “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said” (v. 24 ).

How many times has your wife or husband come to you honestly “I’m upset…” your children turn and say “I don’t like that…”   Often we are not excited to be told the truth about ourselves, especially when it’s contrary to our perception

We could save ourselves much hassle by letting things go.    But some times we bravely take on the task of truth telling for my sake and for the sake of better relationships in our family. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

    Telling the truth is interior decoration for another’s character. The risk—and the relationship—is worth it.

More thoughts on these kisses next time

Wide Open Space…

When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!

Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

Psalm 4

images-6Grace is room; grace brings a wide-open space. I know what it is to be in a tight place, sometimes even trying to work my way out,  in my effort,  struggling  with unease and unrest, but now because of Grace, I am back in a roomy place.

Grace us Lord,  take away the press of trouble and the tightly pressed places of challenge and give us room.

Galatians outlines, ”…It was for freedom we were set free…” this grace brings us to this roomy place of freedom .

Romans 5:2

And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Grace is an open space – liberty and freedom.

2 Corinthians 11:11-12

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life.

We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day.

We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.

 

O Lord you are  great “…you gave me  room…” the Psalmist is opening up to the grace life we find in the New Testament,  how wide-open and how high is your love?  as wide open as your grace, ever-increasing.

Rev 19:11

Then I saw Heaven open wide—

The open heavens is the manifestation of a wide-open, roomy place called grace!

“…Wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory…”

There is only one kind of grace, wide-open space freedom and grace, that the Lord shows us – wide-open!

This psalm written by David, is a night-time psalm, probably belonging to the time of David’s flight from Absalom (see Ps. 3), as he faces a second night sleeping rough and under threat. Like Ps. 3, this is a psalm of prayer, we note that coming into the place of prayer is to find oneself in the place of peace —even though the pressures remain.

The centre piece of this psalm however is not prayer but a knowing and trusting.

True prayer is urgent, resting completely on the righteousness of God, is specific and dependent on divine mercy.

Here—as in Ps 3:4.

God of my righteousness—or, “my righteous God, as my holy hill” and Ps 2:6, who will act towards me on righteous principles.

thou hast enlarged—expresses relief afforded, past favour being a ground of hope for the future.

NASB – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousnessYou have relieved me in my distressBe gracious to me and hearmy prayer.

The Message – When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me

To this end…

Donkey power

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

(Col 1:28-29)

Paul seemed to have been so radical impacted by a short fall during his life, he was so foundation-ally affected, transformed by his falling off a donkey encounter.   As he travelled about his business he lost his grip of the reigns, slipped off the back and wham hit the floor.   Hitting what ever part of his body first on a hard dusty well trodden roadway.   It was not stars he saw around his injured head  but he saw an arrival of God, that is as held within the name Yahweh the “ever arriving one”, the God who came and introduced him not to a theology or r even religion and its forms, but to his very own nature the seeing of the nature of God.   Just as God is introduced to us in Genesis his very nature rushed into Paul’s void in his life.    You might asked how do you know he had a void, let me suggest any one who required  a letter to give him the right to conduct himself indicated he had not found himself, maybe?

Light and sound, a voice God nature arrives, Paul on hearing the sounds of God just as creation heard the sounds of God “light be”, so Paul’s short fall some 1 to 1.5 meters off the shoulders of a short animal was a huge distance in his inner being.    It’s amazing to some such a small incident for some can be so huge for others.   I wonder what was your short fall into a whole new life?

Paul heard the voice of Christ asking, “Why do you persecute me” and some 20 years on, the impact was so evidently foundational to his life that it comes across in him testifying before King Agrippa, the encounter was still powerful to him, still living as the narrative shows, there was still life communicating and conviction pulsating from it to the point in “nearly persuade” the king zeal communicated raise zeal in another.

It certainly was not a take it or leave it approach, Paul said, I have based my whole life’s action, my decisions and direction were all moulded from the foundation of his encounter with Christ and not by his own life’s development, his encounter developed his life!   Now that’s a choice for us, can we bring our life, relationships, money and how we use our resources, our focus and priorities, in line with our meeting Jesus, can we choose to be transformed by our onward encounters?

The narrative of Paul’s life indicates to us that something should happen to every one of us, when we truly encounter Christ.   The narrative emphasizes that it is certainly not about the emotions or ecstasy of the moment but about what is impregnated into our lives, causing us to change.

It is not just about capturing or thoughts or intellect but impregnating deep within us, who we are, if you and I have met Jesus, that is what actually happened, a “light be” exploded in us, for some it had immediate implications, while for others it might take a period of time for the light to make its course to transform our foundation.

There is an impregnating of seed of life, in a word, in a donkey fall, or what ever is yours, the seed of the restoring of the image and likeness to bring about a burden and a breakthrough.

Each one of us have our own “burden”,  we sometimes refer to this as our “call” or “vision”.     That which radically changes everything, that which first asks of us, then demands that our every decision and direction aligns towards the vision.   In this way it will fill out your understanding and conviction as to what God has destined you to pursue in life.

What I am seeking to give to you written here as principles of life in God, are merely a packet of seed.   Seed for you to plant and nurture if they are to become fruitful in your life.  Following are simple steps to feed, take hold of the burden that has impregnated, come to reside to bring our live sot a place to make it matter to make our lives count

First Step – THE DEVELOPMENT OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

My enjoyment of fellowship with God started in the initial wave of gratitude for forgiveness which resulted in great joy within me, I was full of praise and adoration for God OUR Father,

In retrospect I see that openness to God and emotional spontaneity were two of the most vital aspects of my early life that have continued to prove fruitful and cause me to progress.

By “openness to God” I mean an attitude of:

  1. Expectation – God can do anything, at any time, in any way, in any place that I am.
  2. Hunger and thirst for God, that is pulling on God, doing all I can to set my hope, my desire, my focus, my thinking on God.   Many older Christ followers would use the term your “first cause”, to hunger and thirst is to make God my first cause and shape my life according to the first cause I see
  3. A heart ready and willing to respond obediently to anything God might do or say.

I experienced enlargement of my expectation as a result of what God did in response to my openness.     It has become an endless cycle of blessing and increase.

By “emotional Spontaneity” I mean learning to laugh and cry, rejoice and repent, pray and praise, which has developed in me a responsive heart to God.      Our emotions are to be cultivated even though they are still to be controlled.      People respond to emotion more than to exploitation.      This is why, if there are two able preachers in the same vicinity, one excellent in teaching the other very caring and feeling for the people, it has been noted the one who is most likely to have the people deeply joined is the person of emotion rather than explanation.

Developing the emotions makes us sensitive to God’s workings, and leads to knowing God intuitively (in the heart). As yet the mind remains largely uninformed, and although this is not desirable as an ongoing thing, it is certainly our initial experience.

Having said this about the emotions, it is equally true that we need an informed faith.      Paul prayed that the “eyes of your understanding be opened” (Eph.l :18).      Feelings will change, whereas understanding will deepen convictions.        As understanding is built-in so we are built up, which leads us now to spiritual discipline.

It is the cultivation of a disciplined way of life that prepares us for a revelation of God.

Next time we shall visit the thoughts of Spiritual Disciplines.            In the mean time let me encourage you to find some donkeys to take a short fall to let the ever arriving God arrive and light fill you again and again.

A Room With A View

A number of years ago, actually in 1985, a best picture award was given to a film called “A Room with a View.”  it was first a book, penned in 1908 by E M Forster about the culture in Edwardian England, it was a film about a young lady who went to stay in Florence, Italy.   Her stay was in a room with no view; the room was in fact a shadow of her own life.   The film dealt with freedom from institutional religion, growing up, true love, freedom on many levels; it was a romantic optimistic book.    The main character Lucy, during her stay in Italy saw her views of the world change dramatically, as her eyes were opened to a world beyond the “protected life in a Windy Corner”.    OK after saying all that, I admit I never saw the film nor had any desire to see it, as a 20 something young man living in Wales this was not the sort of movie we watched at the time.    This film/book is not the point of this blog either.

How ever I do want to use the thoughts presented and for those of you who know me you will have heard me say time and time again, YOUR VIEW OF GOD DETERMINES HOW WELL YOU LIVE.   It is my strong belief that our freedom, empowerment of life, even my view of myself, is all wrapped up there.   I would even go as far as to say that the way the bible is written is much more about introducing us to a view of God and bringing our world view in line with himself.      The way I see God and the function of his abode is the way that my life gets transformed.    In other words the room of my, life is give a view, a view of God, which radically transforms me.

I am convinced that the Scriptures continually continues to enlarge our view of God, who God is and how God works towards creation, while we are so often a people who reduce God down to our view.   We so often speak of God and present the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a way that we need, for us.   God becomes consumed by a consumer society, always there like a spare tire only used when we have a need, God is presented to be consumed feed me, touch me, it’s all about us, we present God that way, even on occasions presenting God  as a harsh judge, a heavy-handed parent,  yet God wants us to find our view and experience of heaven being aligned with his view and nature.

John tells us in John 1:18 (NASB) that “…he cane to explain the Father” and when the disciples said to Jesus, show us the Father Jesus replied by saying “…who ever has seen me has seen the Father…” I have explained God correctly.    We are still trying to deal with Jesus’ view of gender, his view of leadership, his view of life and what is important in his ‘explanational’ life style.

God, Son and Holy Spirit are ceaselessly lifting us out of room with no view and bringing us to a view of him, which will bring liberty at every level.    My encouragement is to visit your view of God, declare your view and see your liberty increase.    The following list, or glimpses of God i present, are to stimulate you to re think and reconsider the view you have, my hope is  it will  enlarge your view.

While I see that Gods nature, essence, is in two things light and love is necessary that form these two essences we discover the characteristic that God has been determined to be known by and through

I present a number of characteristics which by far are never conclusive but are simply a part of our journey, I write because I have a strong belief that our freedom and liberty is all tied up here with our view of God, it is not in the miracle, or the sign and wonder we live life through, although they are all wonderful, but it is in my view of God that  a revelatory  change takes place and we are freed so lets be free!

MERCY

J.I. Packer once wrote, ‘Knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a man’s heart.’ Certainly it has thrilled the hearts of many through the years.  Gathered here are in following article under “A Room with a View” are some observations my prayer is that your room will have in it that which will bring you out into the wide open places of Gods invitation    I trust you will come upon fresh views on the nature of God, pause to worship him & express your love for Him, the more we know of Him, the more we will love Him.

The self-portrait of His mercy, which God painted for Moses when He declared Himself on Mount Sinai, imprinted itself deeply on the consciousness of God’s people and inspired the faith of future generations of Israelite believers. We find in the following words describing God’s mercy recalled often throughout the Old Testament and at crucial times in people’s lives they are anchored and motivated by these truths in a way that deeply affects their responses to difficulty, failure, and success.

When God’s people are in trouble, needy, or under attack, what do they call to mind? “But you, O LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ps. 86:15). 

When they are moved to celebrate, what do they sing about? “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Ps. 145:8). 

When God has granted them success, as in the amazing exploit of rebuilding in Nehemiah, they are kept humble by an overwhelming sense of God’s mercy. They had been stubborn and rebellious, stiff-necked and disobedient; “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them, or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God” (Neh. 9:31). 

It is impossible to read Ezra’s great prayer in Nehemiah 9 without seeing how deeply the conviction of God’s mercy had touched and influenced his thinking. His response to success was rooted in the truths about God’s mercy. ” . . . But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them” (Neh. 9:17). 

There is nothing that can keep us humble like this sense of God’s mercy. It is the great antidote to pride, for pride and a deep awareness of God’s mercy simply cannot coexist.

SO where is God’s mercy for you seen and felt, what action and in what direction of your life can you stop and shout our it is his mercy in evidence at work in my life.    My view of life is coloured and contoured by this great mercy of God towards me.    The exploits we do, the achievement we experience O the great mercy of God.   The challenges we encounter the sadness that comes our way O the great Mercy of God.   Stop for a moment and watch the mercy of God at work.

To come  Glorious, Father, Transcendent, Just, Loving, Redeemer, Mysterious, Good, Holy, Beautiful, Servant, Unchanging