Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 4

There was a movie I watched quite a while ago where the coach of a football team was being interviewed as they walked to the changing rooms for half time. The interviewer was asking why they played so bad in the first half, just what he thought was missing from their game?
Coach simply taps his chest with his play book a few times and says something like "lots of it".
Lots of what you might be asking?
Without saying directly you just know what he is referring to...heart...

We love to talk a lot about heart in everyday life.
If you heart is into or not into something it makes all the difference.
When a relationship fails for whatever reason, many times we say that our heart is broken.
Christians many times say that God is in their heart.

God is into heart.
He is actually more interested interested in this very internal, hidden and yet highly influential vestibule. When He is looking at yours and my life, heart is what He sees.

When a young man was busy in the fields one day, helping on the family farm, he was brought home to meet a visitor.
This visitor had been looking over the other sons in the family to see which could be a good fit for a special role. None matched the criteria even though some had the looks, the physique and even the charisma for the role.
God famously said this that day while this process was all unfolding...
"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 niv

Ironically is was also David who asked God to give him a new heart later in life. After a period of reflection he had come to the realisation that something was wrong with it, and that God was the only one who could truly help...

So how is your heart today?
If God was looking at it right now (which I believe He is) what would you heart say about who you truly are?
Is your heart really into life, and especially into seeing the Kingdom of God expanding in your part of the world?
Maybe you heart is a bit busted at the moment? God can heal it!
Is God in your heart, in the most centre of all your being? Make Him Lord of your life.

Please know today God is never just looking at your heart to judge it!
He is looking at your heart in part, to know exactly what you need.
He is your Dad and he cares about you!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 3

There is an account in scripture of Jesus being hungry and looking to satisfy his hunger with some fruit. His expectation was to go up to a fig tree and relieve his cravings. Even though it wasn't the season to collect fruit from that type of plant. (Mark 11:12-13)
On face value you could be forgiven for thinking this is a little unfair of Jesus, to expect fruit out of season. But dig a little deeper and his example, his life based analogy, well it speaks a lot about us and our spiritual health. About ultimately what He is looking for...

When I looked into this today I learnt something interesting.
Fig trees can actually start producing fruit even without a healthy plume of leaves. Their DNA just wants to produce fruit. Fruit comes before foliage, before aesthetics, every single time.

Now tie this concept into yours and my life...
Image is nothing - fruit is everything!
What counts for each of us is the fruit of our lives. How good a 'christian' you look like on the outside isn't as important as the fruit your life actually produces.

We are 'all season' fruit producers!
We can actually produce fruit in season and out of season. Our DNA if you like is designed to produce fruit. Because we are not just natural but are spiritual, in Christ I believe we can regularly produce a harvest of fruit, not restricted by our feelings and foliage.

God is looking for fruit from our lives...
Fruit indicates how truly healthy something or someone is.
Fruit also shows what something truly is, because it is produced from its core.

Around our old home in Auckland when we first purchased it were a number of trees.
Not being the best at plants, horticultural exploits or gardening for that matter, we weren't really sure what they were.
When their fruit appeared finally appeared, that is when we truly knew. The mandarins, lemons and red plums told what the trees were. And their quality of fruit told us how healthy they each were.

It was at that time we decided which we would keep and which we would help with fertiliser, watering, pruning and whatever else was needed to produce more and better fruit.

Jesus talked another day about this concept. Sharing a short story about a man going to visit his fig tree in his vineyard. For 3 years he was waiting patiently for it to fruit (typically fig trees produce by then). Because it wasn't fruiting yet a decision was made. Dig it and dung it. Give it some more help and see if it will produce something good. (Luke 13:6-9)

I am reminded that if I am not producing cool fruit from my life, maybe I need to look at a number of factors...
What am I feeding on?
Am I feeding on it enough?
Do I need some specialist help from another spiritual gardener?

As you think about this possibly today, can I encourage you to focus on the fact that you can be a fantastic fruit producer? Your life can make a difference to many lives!
Take stock. Do what needs to be done.
God is looking for your fruit...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 2

A new season began of multi-sport events for me this week.
I always look forward to it, but a bit of nervousness is always peppered into the equation.
That is because I am very competitive with myself. And I know it will hurt - but in a good way.

As the starter sent us off for race 1 of the series, I kept telling myself to run my own race.
I took the run leg a little slower than I could have, or how I had in the past.
When the cycle leg started I held back and looked around at how best to strategise where I would pass or let others dictate the pace. Then when the final run leg was happening I tried to not let others dictate my pace and just ran to do the best I could. Giving it a good kick in the final 50 meters to pass another competitor.

Normally I wouldn't do it that way.
Normally I would just go as hard as a can for as long as I can.
I would try and stay in front of others out of fear of being passed. And if they did pass me I would then die a little inside and back off.

I believe that God is looking to see how we will run our race of faith. He has the best seat in the universe to watch us out there on the field of endeavour.

All through scripture 'the race' is linked to living our life of faith in Christ. Paul mentions it many times and uses it as an analogy on how we should approach it.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. Acts 20:24 niv

We are running to finish. Never just to participate.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? 
Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24 niv

We are running to win. Encouraged by Paul to run our race in such a way that we make it to the finish line and the prize that awaits us personally.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 2 Timothy 4:7 niv

We are running, but we are also aware we have to take some responsibility for how we run.
You can not let others dictate your pace to the detriment of your race. And never allow others to cut you off or disqualify you for what you are pressing on for in God. Others can help you but it is still your race to run.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 niv

We are not running without an audience.
Heaven is watching and heaven is cheering us on.
From the day heaven rejoices over your coming to Christ to the day you bring it home crossing the finish line - a great crowd is cheering you on. The head cheer leader is quite possibly God himself!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 1

Many of us say we are on a journey looking for God.
Trying to seek Him out. Discovering what He is truly like.
Who He can be to each of us personally.

What you may not have realised is God is also looking...
But what could the God who created everything be looking for?
Over the next few blog entries I thought we could look at this together.

Check out this account for Matthews Gospel with me.

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 
Matthew 8:5-10 niv

What impressed Jesus about this man?
He discovered that he actually understood what faith was.
Maybe it was a shock / surprise because God's people normally think they have faith down pat. But yet this man with a limited understanding of God, seemed to understand it more...

Jesus also famously asked this question after teaching about prayer.

"....when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 niv

God is looking for faith...simple as that.
He is more interested in your faith than your fashion.
More responsive to faith than flashy religious expression.
It is all about faith a faith a faith...

With that in mind, God is looking to you and I to have faith.
To operate in faith.
To let faith be one of the major defining characteristics of our life and ministry.
The question He is wanting to discover and is looking for, is just how much we are willing to live by it.

Something to think about...