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.

Chose!

images-4Chose Life is the direction of the scriptures, more than that the Spirit of life causes us to ‘chose life’, the passage in Deut.  30:19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 

 The desire of the Father for us all is that we “CHOSE” and that choice is “LIFE”.   “Chose Life” the shout goes across time and through creation into the hearts of mankind.   Chose, make a right choice, the grace of God enables us.

We must have all sat in examinations some time or another, I recall  schooldays with the invigilator, the one who wandered between lines of the desks  making sure you did not cheat in any way, whilst you had notes written on your arm, little slips of writing paper with answers on slipped into your pencil-case, with words so small that by the time you needed them in the exam you could no longer read them, by what ever way by whatever means people attempt to get themselves ahead.   Perhaps you are one who did not need anything but could recall all at the appropriate moment.    The invigilator strolling between the lines of order, pressuring the children.   But this Father of ours , the God of all creation does not allow any one to become pressured, for as the Father of Life passes by and sees your pressure he reaches over your shoulder and points at the correct choice.   So he sets before us choice, life or death and points, just incase the question is too difficult for us, LIFE to enable us to make the correct decision.

Life is a series of choices. Our present circumstance and status in life is the consequence of the choices we have made & have refused to make in life.

The most difficult choices are not the ones between good & evil, but choose between multiple good. Phil 1:9

 

Choices, Life is full of them they roll in every day, ever hour, they stand before us daily.     God wants us to make choices and through choices we are schooled, God will always present choices for our maturing.   Consider Adam right from the word go humanity is presented with a choice ‘this tree or that one’, a moral choice, a choice of life, a choice of obedient response.   Humanity even following being instructed not to take of one tree, humanity is even show which one was full of life and humanity should continue to taking from it, yet a choice stood in the centre of the garden two trees to begin the process of maturing.   Through the choice made immaturity along with a way of life that all humanity has struggled with, an orphan way of life overwhelmed at that time and we have being dealing with provision and protection ever since.

A choice made that brought all mankind to be defensive and protective in life along with taken up in gathering and amassing all kinds of provision, in making providing for self a central feature of life yet Choose Life the direction was to be.

In making a sound choice, freedom from 2 enemies of the present age is necessary.

  1. Possessions material goods and  the pursuit of them
  2. Positions status, what others think of us, protection.

You are in God

Outside of God, man is locked up, trapped, a prisoner of emptiness: in his frustrations.  Ever reaching, but finding nothing within his grasp.    Mankind lives with forever promises being made & forever failure of  deliver.   “But God” is the old turning point of all human lives, the “but” that breaks through and takes the imprisoned soul, the barren and empty life transforming them:

Noah who one day found his sweating brow cooled by a soft breeze became unwound.

Adam & Eve who left the paradise of God without holding hands.

Abraham who saw what to others was not visible. Who lived by faith in the unseen God. Who pilgrimaged in faith for an unseen city.

Sarah who trusted

Moses who brought people out, Moses who climbed where  no man had.

Joshua who rose up & moved the people of God forward.

Daniel whose covenant kept him.

Elijah whose prophetic character watched his prophetic word.

 

“But God” brings us to a realisation that:

God: spirit: word: all else has it’s Genesis here.

God: dwelling in the fullness of solitude.

God: enjoying fellowship in the fullness of fellowship with the society of the Godhead.

 

Determining the expression of Gods pleasure, the demonstration of Gods power, fulfilling Gods desires.

God Surrounding with majestic splendor befitting all creation and nature, extending God by “Let there be” and God surround with colour, form and creations.   With the turn of  fingers another galaxy spun into space.  The considered mind of the council of God in the precision of divine purpose hung every star in it’s place.      Everything is held together by the power of Gods words that now filled the space between all that had come into existence.

God poured & called into being other beings to show Father Spirit and Sons delights & continued creating as those sons of God, the moving stars leapt for joy & brought forth in praise day & night, morning & evening, day running into night as onward he went like some exuberant reveller.     Wild with delight –  your all was to plan.     Nothing too soon.      Nothing too late.      Rivers & mountains & streams & valleys, deserts & waters. Animals, fish, birds until the whole earth teamed with life.

Exuberantly called out praise to the creator by the created who in heart desire to express Gods pleasure. Then a paused and a command issued God said let us make man and to the breathless wonder of all the rest of the created order, he added ‘in our own image & likeness’

Scooping up a handful of earth, red clay a restored dignity came to the planet, by shaping the soil to express  likeness and image, with breathed is own breath of life into the crown of creation.     heaven council watched as man bearing image stood up, eyes open, ears attuned to all else around and saw that which was created with mankind in view, universe, stars, sun, moon world, water, mountains.     Yet it was good, that is it functions as it was created for, then it becomes “it’s not good”, following 5 statements of “its is good”, more accurately stated it is functional, then we have it is not good, what is not  good ?    The Image and likeness was not fulfilled.    As God is never alone, God is nerve singular so mankind had to be more than one, putting him to sleep the God of perfection completed the detail of necessary companionship, friendship, fellowship and love, making covenant seen, setting an order to destiny a corporate people is the image and likeness.    Together Adam & Eve hand in hand worked through the garden of pleasure surrounded by fullness of provision and  everything worshipped the invisible God whose image was now visible in mankind in man and women of heavens council in making.   From council “let us” rather than “let be” did Gods council create mankind to be from council and to continue in council  for this is destiny not aloneness of self-made but a corporate son and multitude of people, man and women image capturing and bearing.

Everything stood quietly, treading softy, as day after day in the cool of the evening God & mankind walked together in the sweet fellowship of oneness, & perfect compatibility.

This is the Restoration and the centre of our salvation to walk again in the garden which is God to walk in God and through God.

 

Changing Your View

Changing your view: “We must pray the promise not the problem”.     We increase in faith as we boast in our hope, as we are a testimony of things to come. Heb 3:6

Faith must find it’s true measure; it has to be unlocked, unhitched from the wagon of healing, goodies & money and  given a wider and deeper application to our time & our lives, faith is bigger than the few issues mentioned above.   Unfortunately any one looking in on the church will think there are only a few things that are impacted by what we call faith, don’t get me wrong these issues, money, healing and provision will be reorder by our faith but there is so much more to unlock in our understanding when we consider faith.    So many themes, life factors are hijack to a narrow view of our understanding when there is much more to take hold of in Gods promises.   For example healing, when your sick it’s a blessing but when the promise of God to us is full health then healing  for the world around us let’s believe for health as a covenant people, prosperity finance only when prosperity is a fullness of life in peace, even blessing for me when we are to be blessed to be a blessing.    Rediscovering the truth of “living by faith” is a call for our hour, it is a call to live beyond the immediate, beyond my need, it is a way of life, living by faith is not when I look for income its a way of live continuity not just to get my need we are to live by faith not by events of faith only.

Faith must enrich us in every way and not simply adjust the material realm.     Indeed to be in the worst kind of poverty is to have all the material wealth you could ever wish for and yet be empty, unfulfilled, frustrated, and miserable, then, you are really poor.     Poverty is not a lack of resource but a people who are dependent on others for basic resources, our dependency should be on God not on resources.

In the same way that faith has to be unhinged so too Prophecy.   Prophecy must be seen bigger that just used in the realm of signs and authenticating a man or woman and their ministry, its time to find it’s true message to our time.    Prophecy does have a predictive aspect to it but much more we are to be a people who interoperate God to our world in our daily life, this is prophecy.     Prophecy gives the people of God a voice to interpret God’s onward creative acts in society and our world telling and interpreting.       Prophecy is to confront us with a plumb line of truth, enabling us, asking us, to build in the light of it, the prophecy that is, building according to a divine pattern and foundation, this requires our faith to be applied in our daily living.

Prophecy must be elevated in the ministry, to deliver us into our world, and the Kingdom of God into us.    Prophecy takes the taste of the age to come and increases the taste, allowing the breaking in of the Kingdom of God to enfold further in this world.

Faith and Prophecy are twinned, for many prophecy is shouting out things that come to mind, but our faith is tied to that which we utter and live.   Prophecy must be a life style as well as an utterance, the people of God, the church, will become the direct manifestation of prophecy just as the prophets of old, their lives, the way in which they lived was a gift, you could see the life’s message in their life style choice and the way they lived.

Faith and prophecy twinned, Romans 12:6 says “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith” as we are told to prophecy to the measure of our faith it becomes necessary to re-asses our place, that is, what we are involved with or  what we are doing, checking that it is in line, not only with the prophecy but also with my faith, living by faith every moment of every day.

Two basic questions:

Do we feel content to continue as we are?

Do we desperately want to break through into different realms?

These twins are necessary in order that the twins of mercy and goodness can follow us all the days of our lives…There is no release from the lower sphere of this material realm, of content existence, unless we have experienced the liberating prospect of the Spirit freeing us to rise as an eagle, to climb the air to the high altitudes of living.

Faith and Prophecy unlocks us to soar free, to live out our potential in the Grace of the Father.

3 Small Things are Exceedingly wise.

In the book of Proverbs there are many one liners of wisdom for life, wrapped up in the words, they speak to relationship, family, to business practices and environments, their wisdom will help you become a better leader, manager, husband, wife, child, person.    They just deal with people and life to the full.   I have often encouraged young men and women to form a habit around the reading of at least one proverb a day, letting the proverbs groom life and enable a better person to emerge.   They are not only helpful to the individual but they will produce a better society if we could embrace them.

I must admit there are some strange ones as well, such as what do you do with “if you dig a pit you will surely fall into it” or “if a man stand on a log he will surly fall off” clearly they did not have health and safety.   In Proverbs 30:24 forward we have presented to us “small things” unimportant things yet they are presented as small insignificant things which are very significant for us, they are “exceedingly wise”.   Small is worth listening to and taking note of some times, I would suggest to you, always.

How many times have we missed the Father as it was not exceedingly big enough for us, significant for us, of notoriety, or even X Factor enough to take note of, yet there was wisdom for the day there.

MY prayer is that we all see significance according to the lesson, the insight of wisdom delivered, not its position, impact, or even any value system we may employ.   How many times has God been there dressed in such a non attractive manner, I wonder how many missed Jesus as he was not as they expected.   Proverbs also encourages us that “wisdom cries in the street”, Ok lets train our eyes and ears to see and hear  the “small things” for exceeding wisdom.

Why start with small things well here are three small wisdom’s for life I have noted in my life and others that we would do well to take on board and employ the wisdom.

1.         Experience Life thought the lens of faith – it’s all down to how you view life, your view will enable or trip you up it’s so important how you look on life.   People around you and situations will shout “no you cannot”, “you should not” and will make reasons why not, however you and I must face the storm and look through another view.   What has God promised you, what has he said, what will you do in the light of that.

This is not about a fanciful, wistful saying, but what has become part of your fabric, that which God has said.  One thing is certain, if God has said it, it will be beyond your ability, means and emotion at present, BUT God, we do or don’t believe.    What keeps you together in the situations of life that you can align your whole being with?

There is no better way than to see and take life and all it has while looking through afresh lens.   I am not suggesting we become presumptuous or individualistic and alone, but I am encouraging us to Know what God has said and look at life through those very words.    To see with your hearing perhaps, as the lens is established by what you have heard, it is when sight is determined by hearing!

So what lens do you govern yourself by, what experience will you have tomorrow.

I wear glasses to enable 20 20 vision, without them well let us say there would be many bruises as I would walk into things, I experience life through the putting on of two circular glass plates, without them I would have a distorted view of life.  The view would be so out of focus that I think I would end up in a darkened room, it is tiring trying to have to squint and stretch to get focus but with glasses, o boy can I see far and short.    Experience life though the lens of Faith, its clear, challenging, humbling but adventure beyond.

Through this lens of faith,  we have testimony down through time, of people’s views being transformed, this lens enabling forward advance.   One such transformation came to William Wilberforce after a sudden conversion experience, William began to see his work (and world) in a whole new light.

“The gospel freely admitted makes a man happy. It gives him peace with God, and makes him happy in God. It gives to industry a noble, contented look which selfish drudgery never wore; and from the moment that a man begins to do his work for his Saviour’s sake, he feels that the most ordinary employments are full of sweetness and dignity, and that the most difficult are not impossible. And if any of you, my friends, is weary with his work, if dissatisfaction with yourself or sorrow of any kind disheartens you, if at any time you feel the dull paralysis of conscious sin, or the depressing influence of vexing thoughts, look to Jesus, and be happy. Be happy, and your joyful work will prosper well.”

2.      Bloom where you are planted – so many of us are robbed of fulfilling all God has for us, as we have adopted a saying that keeps us from where we are, “grass is greener on the other side” so we make every where seem better that where we are.   It produces an unhealthy dissatisfaction and dislike of the gift God has given us.

I have a desire to enable people to live to the full where they are, the missing factor is, we have lost the understanding that God has planted us where we are!   Not as a discipline or judgment against you but with the purpose of transformation.   If we cannot grasp this, Gods’ planting for us, we will never bloom.    We say that identity is important, which it is, but I would say to you believing and realising that where I am is the planting of the Lord is equally vital.   In Genesis God not only planted a garden but he planted Adam into the garden, a place prepared and planted mankind.   I would say we have to know Gods’ hand placing us so we can bloom.

Your decision to be planted will make you and the people around you flourish, that is as you become planted and convinced of your setting, which is often our battle being convinced, for being convinced having a conviction is a necessary strength for life.    As you are convinced of being planted or where you are now being the will of God watch your planting attract people and opportunity to you.    So many wish their lives away wishing they where somewhere else or in anther person place.     It is  fashionable to belong to networks for advance and they are effective to a degree, but the knowledge of being planted and living accordingly will cause you to bloom!

3.         Have the stamina to pursue your God-given passions until the end. – the challenge of finishing well, of getting through all the distractions, the disappointments and letting the passion that God has worked into you to have its end.   Living life with no regrets, there may be sadness but nothing that steals stamina.   The developing of stamina of staying in when it is all up hill and getting harder and harder.   As I tell you, you will have moments when you feel that you are crushed Paul said he was perplexed, crushed on every side but he kept going and so do we too.

Stamina is so necessary in every day to be able to keep your emotion, your attitude your physical ability up, to achieve what God has revealed to your lens and through your planting to bloom.

There is no time here to consider the ways of building stamina of ensuring that the company you keep, the way you talk, the way you see, all effect stamina.  To consider how to build your stamina for the journey is another worthwhile topic for another blog, the how to build, the necessity of stamina, the cultivating of the means to strength for the road ahead.