Wednesday, May 28, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...

Jesus surprised a lot of people many years a go when He said these words...
"It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:11 NLT
And maybe you are like me and are still astounded at that statement?

When I read those words I feel very challenged!
It reminds me that I am in some way based on the words I speak to others and myself.
When I say rubbish things it reveals to me that maybe there is some rubbish in my life?
It is such a powerful litmus test of my character and attitude level. Using the very words I have spoken as a guide to what is really going on inside me.

Why did Jesus bring this up?
Simply because the religious people of the time were focusing on task and role and image...while forgetting that their words and actions truly showed the condition of their hearts.
We can kid ourselves when we base our so called 'goodness' or even 'holiness' solely on the things we do.

Even this week I have taken moments to review what I said and how I have said them.
There have been times I have figuratively patted myself on the back.
And to my shame, other moments when I have hung my head in shame.
Those words of Jesus have pierced my world to show me the true condition of my heart and my desperate need for more of Him.

Doesn't it also say that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks?
Words never just appear by accident.
When we think they are accidental it is more like a true sign post to our true insides at that time.

I thank God that He is for me and not against me.
That His dream is to turn this living, walking and even talking temple into as best a place for Him to reside as possible!

Maybe this week you can take a quick review of your words?
To let them show where you are truly at.
And ultimately drive you to cry out for His work to continue in your heart!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What will the future look like?

I think most of us are fascinated with the future.
What will it look like?
What will our particular place in this future be?
As kids we dream about our future and who we will be and what we will do.
As adults we scheme and dream, hoping on hope that it will all work out in our favour.

I started thinking about this again this week as I trolled through some interesting youtube clips.
There was a series of them relating to newsreel footage of events dating as far back to the early 20th century.
One of the clips compiled were predictions about what the future would be like.
Funnily enough, they were trying to predict what life would be like for us now.
What clothes we would be wearing and the like. Women in glass gowns. Men carrying equipment on their person.

You can watch the fun in this link...

Here are some thoughts this week based around this...
God promises to gives us all a hope and a future
God would like us to sow now for a future harvest
God tells us to not worry about the future, that tomorrow will look after itself
God encourages us to make the most of today while it is called today
And God wants you to know the He has it all sorted above everything else.
You are His Kid.
You are the sheep of His pasture.
You are the clay on His potters wheel.
He has got it sorted! And He can see you finishing your race well...

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23 NLT

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lining yourself up for a 'God' surprise

Most of us like cool surprises I think...
When that special something happens and it truly is a surprise that brings some joy to your life.

Last week I got to be involved in giving my kids a surprise that they never expected.
The funny thing for me was the fact that all summer one of asked if we could go overseas some time. Little did he know...

So on Monday we took them out for dinner.
After ordering from the menu I gave them an envelope each, to only be opened once everyone was ready to do it together.
And here was the surprise - they looked inside - and found out that we were taking them to Australia for a few days. To make it even more dramatic...we were leaving for the 'great south land' the very next morning!

So if you are like me and like cool surprises, what do you do to line yourself up/set yourself for them.
God is a Dad just like me, but He is so much better at it!
And if I can surprise my kids, God can do an even more amazing job of it.
I even think He gets a great kick out of it.

Moses was looking after the flock in his care when God went "SURPRISE" and turned up speaking to him from a burning bush.
Peter was staring blankly into empty nets on the beach which Jesus turns up and went "SURPRISE". Then proceeds to help him get too many fish and a call to fish for men as part of the package.
The disciples were worshipping God all together, some 120 of them, and God turns up to their gathering and gives them a divine Holy Spirit SURPRISE. That would have been a cool Church service!!!

So how do you do it?
How do you line yourself for a God surprise?

This is what I think...
God surprises happen:
- When we need them
- When we expect God/operate in Faith
And this is key...
- When we are faithful 

Moses was faithfully looking after a flock.
Peter was faithfully working away to the best of his ability.
The Church was faithfully meeting together and honouring their King.

I am sure you can see where I am going with this?
Let's be faithful in the everyday things, all the while looking to our King.
And get ready to experience the goodness of our God in the land we live.

Something to think about...

Monday, May 05, 2014

How close do you want to get?

On Sunday night a whole group of us converged on the local movie theatres to see the Son of God movie premiere we had arranged.
To be honest I was looking forward and not looking forward to it.
I was nervous about how much cringe factor there might be.
I was apprehensive about seeing the sacrifice component of the story, as seeing Jesus crucified has never entertained me!
And I was excited to see Jesus, who I chose to follow many years ago, with His life portrayed once again on the silver screen...

Many scenes stirred me but one did more than all the others...

In it a man named Simon of Cyrene was forced by the roman soldiers to help Jesus carry the cross to Golgotha. Through the winding and undulating stone streets to the barren hills outside of Jerusalem.
They showed how this played out a little different to how I had imagined it before.
I have always pictured Simon carrying the cross, with Jesus struggling along behind or in front of him.
In this movie however, the were shown to be beside each other.
Both heaving and dragging this instrument of torture and death to its intended destination.
Arms around each other at times. Sweat and blood mixing on both their flesh.
They were shown to be pretty close!

And if you asked Simon and a bystander on the street afterwards what they thought of the whole thing, I wonder how different their answers would be?
I wonder how much more of an impact it would have had on Simon than anyone else?
What did it do to his life and the choices he made from there?
What was the story he told his family and friends compared to a mere observer?

I would suggest his story would have been powerful. It would have had huge meaning.
The very fact he was in extremely close contact with the Son of God would have changed him inexplicably forever!

So how close do you want to get to this Jesus? Because I think it will dictate how much He impacts your life...
You are welcome to gaze from a distance, but you are also invited to come as close as you can.

There is a huge difference I believe between knowing about Him and actually knowing Him.
There are lots of experts from a distance. But friends are known by how close they are.
This Son of God is not looking for mere experts or commentators on aspects of faith.
He is looking for friends that see their lives changed.
Who in turn change the world.
And who finally get to spend a glorious eternity with Him...

So how close do you want to get?

Something to think about... 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Has God Moved?

Have you ever gone to visit someone and got a surprise when you find out that they have moved on?
Maybe you have gone to a favourite store to purchase something and been shocked to find a note on the door saying things have changed?
Or maybe you have gone to your favourite cafe to find your favourite staff member has left, and things are not quite like they used to be?

I can relate to all those statements.

Sometimes I hear people say things like...
"I used to hear from God. It seemed a lot easier than it is now..."
"God doesn't speak clearly to me anymore" 
And as they talk about this frustration you get the impression that many think God has moved?
To a person in that situation it is like He snuck away without any warning.
It feels kind of rude that He would do such a thing.

A doctrinal position that is firmly established in scripture and has been outworked since creation is this...

God does not change. 
God does not move.

Check out these passages:

Hebrews 13:8 niv
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever

Malachi 3:6 nlt
"I am the Lord, and I do not change..."

James 1:17 niv
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

So if you think God has moved, can I suggest this as a course of action for you?

Stop and actually look at where you are, not where you think God should be.
God doesn't move...people do.
God doesn't change, but as people we do.
If you think God has stopped speaking, ask yourself if you have changed in any way from when you used to hear from Him.
Maybe you don't read His Word or pray like you once did?
Maybe you are doing something different in your life or dare I say differently from how you once did?
If you can't see Him at work, ask yourself if you are still looking with the same eyes of faith that you used to.

And if after all this checking you find you have indeed moved instead of God...
Just move back!
Let the grace of God help lead you to where you need to be.
Make choices. Make the changes.
Do whatever you need to to move into your better place with Him.
Then you see He has never moved away from you - He loves you too much for that to be His choice!

Something to think about...