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.

9th Month check up, Questions to ponder again!

 

Just some simple questions to ponder, take up do what ever you will with they will impact your life if your honest, be free and liberate your self through them, these are meant to empower and make life an adventure.

What’s one way you could utilise time to increase your enjoyment of God?

What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do right now?

What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your life and your family life?

In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress, and what will you do about it?

Who are three people you can disciple more intentionally?

What is the most helpful way you can build community with a few other followers of Jesus?

For whose salvation will you pray most fervently?

Who is the person you most want to encourage and how could you do it right now?

What one thing could you do to deepen your conversation with the Father?

What single thing can you plan to do that will matter most in ten years?  Then as the opening scene of the Gladiator film says whats will echo in eternity?

 

Breaking The Sound Barriers – The Barrier of a Closed Heart

 

The last time we looked at what my fingers typed we considered how a closed mind could be a barrier to the sound of God’s voice. The same is true of a closed heart. What are some signs that a heart attitude might be hindering us from hearing God?

Look what will happen – “We might die!”

In contrast to Gideon, who doubted that God would speak to him, in another account the Israelites gathered around Mount Sinai.   They had been on a journey and came to a mountain that visually turned them away, smoke, clouds, and lightening – “…very, very frightening…” was line in a Queen song called Bohemian Rhapsody and the same words came to mind and hit home here.  The nation is challenged convinced that God had something to say. But they were terrified by the prospect!    As God spoke from the mountain, the people “trembled with fear” and pleaded with Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” Ex. 20:18–19.

Sometimes we too shut out the voice of God because we fear what God might say.    We may not worry, as the Israelites did, that God’s words could kill us.    But fear shuts out what God has to say.    We may say never me but when has the fear of the situation held us up, caused us to run away and not take up the moment?   The Father as something to say and we have wince at the possibility that He could make uncomfortable demands.

What if God were to command us to change our ways?     What if God were to call us to some great sacrifice?

That’s precisely what the Father often does.    Read the word of the Lord to the believers in the seven churches of Asia, recorded in the opening chapters of Revelation.    God praised their virtues and good works, but then there was the warning to them that the sufferings ahead would require great sacrifices, the change your ways, the come up here.       The Lord punctuated each message with the same command: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22. Nevertheless, the words always concluded with words of hope and a promise of salvation “to him who overcomes” 3:21.

If what will it mean is deafening us to God’s voice, we should bear in mind that the rewards of heeding are priceless and eternal. No matter what God calls us to, we can take courage, “for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” 2 Cor. 4:17.

All that I need I have – “We’ve got horses!”

Another heart issue that hinders hearing is that God’s people sometimes have trouble hearing because of pride.    One form of pride leads us to assume that we have things under control and have no need for a conversation with God.    The Old Testament prophets often warned against this. Zephaniah, for example, rebukes those who “neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him” Zeph. 1:6.

God has a cure for misplaced confidence in ourselves: the allowing of difficult circumstances to overwhelm us and remind us how desperately we need God’s guidance.

During Isaiah writing his account, as the nations where bearing down, the on coming of the physical threat to Judah by Assyria.    Leadership should have been asking God for protection and direction, but they lost their bearings and made a logical and calculated decision and made an alliance with Egypt, with Egypt?    What did God think of that arrangement?    “Woe to the obstinate children…to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit. Is. 30:1

Through Isaiah, the Lord called the people to trust in God’s protection. But they responded, “No, if trouble comes we’ve got horses for a getaway!”     “So be it,” God replied. “You’ll take to your horses, and your enemies will pursue and overtake you” see vv. 16–17.

God’s mercy reaches great heights, its is great. “How gracious he will be when you cry for help!” Isaiah reminded the prideful people. “As soon as he hears, he will answer you” v 19.

And how will God show compassion once we have abandoned our self-sufficiency?   By speaking to us. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left,” He promises, “your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” v. 21.

It should have come through Mr.& Mrs? – “I’m not listening to a donkey!”       Pride can also lead us to presumptions about the kind of messenger God should use.     We can close our hearts and ears to God’s voice if we consider the courier unfit for the job.     Remember the blind beggar Jesus healed?      When the Pharisees examined him, he tried to tell them that Jesus was a prophet sent from God to whom they should listen John 9.    But they had already concluded that Jesus was just a troublemaker, so they rejected the message and the messenger. “‘You were steeped in sin at birth,” they told the man who had been healed. “How dare you lecture us!” V 34

There seems to be a continuous way of God woven here that God speaks to us through people we might never, better said definitely would not have chosen?    An unacceptable person, different in culture, a fringe person to their society speaks out for Gods case.     A child makes a profound statement of spiritual wisdom beyond her years.      A so-called enemy, which can be physical enemy or emotional enemy, brings to us with an uncomfortable truth.     A stranger makes a passing remark that opens a door of direction for us.     God spoke through Balaam’s donkey Num. 22:21–34.      That means God can speak through anybody!

Whenever you or I have done the very thing of dismissing God due to the massagers, if it’s the style or what is said, as we have realized we have dismissed God and have become unable to hear the Father, we realize its really is the voice of God speaking through the vessel.    A vessel that in our mind perhaps we thought unworthy or not up to whom we wanted, or not who we wanted to hear from.    Stop for a moment, just tell the Father, confess our pride he will hear us although we could not hear God.    Without judgment or put down the Father hears you and me, just admit it and watch out as the Father speaks again.    Go the next step and thank the person, the one you said, “…never could be too…” the one God used.     This act of humility can help prevent future presumption.

Another way to swallow our pride is to habitually and humbly seek good counsel from.     Become a constant learner looking to learn from the youngest to oldest the most to the least, what ever lines you have drawn regarding whom you can learn from rub them out, learn from whom ever and where ever, “EVERYTHING IS SPIRIRUAL” remember, that is seeing God in all things constantly communicating to us, hearing God every where.   Don’t miss God and wait for a repeat God is ever speaking to us.

“You’re not the God of me!”

When we turn our backs on God, preferring to do things our way, our ears grow deaf to Gods voice. This is no new phenomenon. When God instructed the nation of Judah how to live righteously,

They turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit.  Zech. 7:11–12

The result? “The Lord Almighty was very angry”v.12. A hardened heart is at enmity with God, and in the end, those who oppose God will suffer calamity. “Listen!” says the Lord to rebels. “I am going to bring a disaster…that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle” Jer. 19:3. One way or another, we will end up listening.

So what do I do turn back to the Lord, seeking God’s forgiveness and recognizing His sovereignty. He can give us a new heart, so that we can say with the prophet: “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back” Is. 50:5.

For me I have found helpful is discovering a view of God that the bible shows us not what we are told God is like but discovering God as God.   Learning that God constantly is bringing us to see God as God is, not what religious or Christian culture, sometimes paints.   I suppose we could say “…as God is so are we…” so we better discover a right view so we can “be”.   Our judgmental, no generous way will define for us what we do and what we don’t do and is harmful to us and others.  It paints an incorrect picture/view first for our selves next for the world around us.   Is this not what has happened and people don’t want anything to do with the church due to the view painted we better get a correct view here.   This view of Gods magnificence, Gods greatness reflect upon it and consider my smallness and be overwhelmed with God.

Consider God working in discipline different from often times  “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.   Heb. 12:10–11

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.  Lam. 3:21–25

When I need to recover my sense of dependency on God, I find help here:

What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? 1 Cor. 4:7, RSV

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  Jas. 1:17

If I’m struggling with submission to God’s sovereignty, I consider God’s words to Job.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!…Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?…Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. Job 38:4–5, 12, 18

Moses’ song to God in Exodus 15 is another passage that helps me adopt a submissive spirit:

Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? . . . In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.  vv. 11, 13

After reflecting on such passages that remind me of the nature of our God, I’ll find my heart opening to Gods will—and my ears opening to Gods voice.

 

What we love, we love to think of.

“I love you”, three most powerful words in our vocabulary, simple words yet so much impact.     It has been said that’s these three simple words that roll of the tongue so easily deal with a persons Identity, Integrity, and Intimacy.   They really do not amount to simple Hollywood lines, to move an audience at a pinnacle point in a moving film, when some one departs a life or loses a life.     What kind of world would we truly belong to if we all realised to say “I Love You” is impactive, powerful and we would invest ourselves into the statement.   These three words the hold three fundamental “I” would be transformational.

For this is when the power of our words is rally seen when we invest out identity to say I love you, it’s who I am.   When we take our integrity and stand by our word to the you we direct our word too, and finally when we invest all our intimacy, which is our inner ways made open, our vulnerability laid on the line, out honesty to say love.   How much better a world it would be?    We may not say I love you so often but when we would it would be invested with so much of you, God, and me.   Now consider this when God says he loves you and me his intimacy, integrity and identity he invest and directs it us, so much of himself given when he said he “…loved the world…” when he said ”…I will never leave you…” when he sounded across the heavens that he loves you, when he sent his love manifestation the Son to this would he invested into “I Love You”.

I started with a statement “What we love, we love to think of”, we see this so simple outlined with a love struck teenager, not only a teenager but anyone that when they love some you we tease “they’re off their food” we say, they are pre-occupied with some one in every conversation simple “what we love, we love to think of”.    The Psalmist in 119:97 (Message) “Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed; I reverently ponder it all the daylong” the love of the revelation of the Father is declared here.   I must admit I too would love to say this as there is nothing like scaling the highest of the revelation of God.   This revelations that we scale has one focus “…in the last days reveled in His Son…” Hebrews 1 O how I love all you’ve reveled he says with so much passion in the words of his love and so much so it fills my day all daylong, my pondering, my wondering, my though, my view all down to you.

There is an object and it is the personhood of God, Christ is that which has been revelled. The revelation is always the Fathers Son.   The all is Christ, the revelation is Christ, it’s personal personhood revelation he revels in.   This is the revelation I love, the revelled word.

This love of revelation is beyond a Bible Study, Never have there been so many tools available for serious Bible study, and we are grateful for them. However, the Word of God is unlike any other book: we must be on good terms with the Author if we are to learn from what He has written. Our relationship to the Lord is determined by our relationship to His will, and that is determined by how we relate to His Word. The encouragement here is to go beyond the dos and don’ts of law to an appeal for a revelatory encounter, it’s heart knowledge of a person and the living Word, and it means being taught by God (v. 102).

Here are some practical way to deepen our enjoyment of the reveled word and to encounter once again this living breathing revelation.  

Love His Word and meditate on it (vv. 97–100). We enjoy thinking about people and activities that we love, simple meditation means loving by pondering on him and his Word and allowing its truths to penetrate our hearts. (48, 113, 127, 159, 165, 167; and 1:2.)

Allowing our minds and hearts are so open to the Holy Spirit and we are ready to be led by him at ever moment of the He can remind us of the Word when we need it and give us fresh understanding in the new challenges we face.

Note this there are many ways to learn truth.

We can learn from our enemies in the encounters of life (v. 98), From teachers in the explanations of life from books and lessons (v. 99)

From these who have life experience and know the principles that work (v. 100).

We have many in the scriptures that were mentored and learned from others Elijah & Elisha, Joshua learned from serving with Moses, from the battles that he fought, and from the experiences, good and bad, that came to his life. But the most important thing he did was to meditate on the Word (Josh. 1:1–9), because his meditation helped him to test what he had learned in the other three “classrooms” and to put it all together into one balanced whole. God shares His truth with babes (Luke 10:21) and those who are humble enough to receive it (1 Cor. 1:18–2:8).

By obeying His Word (vv. 101–102). A true learner and one where the revelation of God lives in is not a person with a big head, full of all sorts of knowledge, but one who has an obedient heart and loves to do God’s will. If the Bible tells us something is wrong, we stay off that path. If God tells us something is right, we do not abandon it. “Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge” (F. W. Robertson) and Obedience is the only true worship not singing songs.

Enjoy His Word (vv. 103–104). Honey would be the sweetest thing the psalmist could taste. However, the Word contains both sweetness and bitterness, and we must learn to receive both (19:10; 104:34; Prov. 16:24; Ezek. 2:9–3:15; Rev. 10). Samson got into trouble because of eating defiled honey from the carcass of a lion (Judg. 14:1–18). He was a Nazarite and was never to touch a dead body (Num. 6), so he defiled both himself and his parents, for Jewish people had to avoid dead animals (Num. 5:2; 9:10).

God’s Word is pure, not defiled, and gives us the sweetness and energy we need to obey His commands. A child of God feeds on the Scriptures and enjoys the sweet taste of truth. This is what it means to go beyond Bible study.

What we love, we love to think of.

A good man carries his Bible with him in his head and in his heart, the better furnished we are with answers to temptation.

Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed; I reverently ponder it all the daylong.