PREPARING TO BE USEFUL

At Bible College, to put it mildly – I struggled. Others seemed to know what was going on, spoke the speak, and went on to preach or teach or whatever, while I just scraped through. I tried to laugh it off. I tried to rationalize it. But the reality was that I felt bad, second rate, a thirty-yield Christian; an “also ran”.

 

More than 20 years later, out of the blue, The Lord in His Grace and Mercy showed me a new perspective. My paradigm, at that time: On one side, you studied to better yourself so you could be more useful to the Lord. Sounds good and right. On the other side, your grades represented how much worth you had as a Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist, Preacher, or whatever. That meant that if you did not measure up, didn’t make the academic grade, that you were somehow of less worth. Of course, nobody else may have thought that, but it was truth for me.

 

It sounds crazy, but my thinking was reinforced when some people seemed to have the anointing. They were promoted and given special acknowledgement, while others, who didn’t seem to have the right “whatever”, were overlooked. To me, some of those “also ran’s” were people of faith, in touch with “the man in the street”. They got on with living out their faith, obeying the Lord. But I had to be incorrect. The leaders were listening to The Lord!

 

I put my full support behind the leaders. I loved the guys and there was very little that I ever felt unsure about in their leadership. Especially when it came to expounding the bible and teaching biblical ways. I was glad they were my leaders. I had no problem following them. The Lord used them mightily in my growth as a Christian. But I still hurt, because the voice of condemnation said I was a thirtyfold Christian. I didn’t do “the stuff”. I could serve. That was gladly accepted. And I enjoyed serving. But I also went beyond, in that I tried to prove I was worth something in the church. Not so much to other members, but to myself, and to the voice of condemnation.

 

I realized tonight, as The Lord spoke, that I have a radically different view now. The Lord calls, equips and qualifies. There is no such thing as a professional Christian! Also, He does not need us to work for Him, or really do anything ‘for’ Him. It is brash and misguided to think that we can study to equip ourselves to do His work. It’s the old story of “He can even use a donkey!”

 

The Gospel was and is spread by people in relationship with their Lord and Savior, not just by people who have memorized vast amounts of scripture, and studied every way there is to convince another person that “I know better than you”. Am I saying we shouldn’t study? Not at all. But if the study is the only way to qualify to “do the stuff”, then the essence of the Gospel is missed.

 

Thank you Lord for learned people, who pour their time into studying and preaching and teaching and expounding, when it is part of God’s Kingdom building. But also, thank You Lord for people who You call, gift, equip and use, that are not special or clever or Cum Lauda. They love You Lord, and will face the seven-times furnace, because they have come to know a love and life that can be found nowhere else, except in the completed work of Jesus.

The Fathers Gift

Imagine:

You have just passed your driving test and have received your licence to drive.

You are walking towards your father, who has a smile of pride on his face.

 

The first words you speak to your father;

“Father I don’t want to bother you. You have more important things and people to attend to.  If you can just help me buy an old VW beetle I have seen. It’s not running but I will fix it and when it breaks, I will fix it again and keep it running.”

 

The father’s jaw drops! There is no limit to his wealth. He can afford to give his child any car.  Why would his precious child, ignore or reject all that is available to do “their own thing”?

But with Grace and compassion he says;

“My child, starting simply and humbly is one thing, but I love you greatly and want to bless you with what is best for you, not what you think you deserve!”

 

A Heavenly Father who did not even spare His own Son, but gave His all for you and me. Anything we can ask, pales in comparison.

If you are like me, you don’t always get it. We can ask anything in His name! Anything?

My Faith is in a powerful Father who does not get angry at my incorrect asking. On the contrary, it pleases Him when I ask in Faith, whether it is in His purposes or not. So maybe I don’t get what I ask for, in my limited understanding, but my willingness to put it out there, to ask, that He enjoys!

 

One example of Jesus reprimanding people who asked, was when they asked (was it demanded) to see a miracle! That was not from a heart of faith and got a strong retort.

 

So many others asked and were rewarded with healings and provision. They came with nothing to offer, just the understanding that THIS man Jesus could do something for them that no one else could. And on top of the provision of a miracle, love them.

 

He knows before we ask! So ask, boldly, in faith. However, remember it is the Giver that we seek most, not what He can give!

Puzzle

It lay on the table all by it self

It wasn’t a large piece, so I couldn’t make out the picture

It was just a random piece of puzzle

 

I was puzzled at the puzzle piece

Why was it there, it seemed so incomplete?

To me something was lost, missimg

 

I suspected it may be part of me

Was I incomplete?

Where is the rest of me?

 

“Lord, if this is me, where is the rest of me?

Why are You working on such a small piece?

I am uncomfortable!”

 

“Son, I don’t need the picture on the box.

That piece on the table is right where it is meant to be

I see you complete, because of Jesus.”

Noise

“Be still!” “In quietness …” “Peace…”

All these and more I aspire to do, have, be!

But my reality is, the more I try to be quiet before the Lord, the louder the noise in my head.

Playing worship music has its place. Reading the Word helps a bit.

But becoming quiet, so I can hear The Lord’s voice has never worked for me.

The more I tried to separate myself from the noise around me, the more I heard.

However, there is choice involved.

In desperation and with a deep desire to grow in my relationship with The Lord, I sit in the external and internal noise. I will choose to not be dictated to by the noise. I will stop, distractions and all. I talk and listen. I don’t let the noise stop my “with intent” time with The Lord.

Then…

One morning The Lord opened my understanding to my wrestling with my inability to be quiet.

As I sat, trying to relaxed in my noise, aware that at any minute someone could come into the room and disturb me, in a flash I saw “my noise” as a big surging mass. However, what seemed a large mass to me, was a tiny dust bunny in The Lord’s hand.

He knows my noise. He has always known and seen my struggle. He is in control of my noise. He will always be in control. And my noise does not affect His working in my life.

I have focused for too long on being quiet. Relationship is not built in quietness.

Noisy or quiet, I am in Your presence Lord.

Thank You Lord.

The devil does his job well?

The devil does his job well?

I was exhausted at the end of my  9th Park Run. I had pushed myself and achieved a personal best. But now as I heaved with breathlessness, I was aware of the pain in my neck.

“It can’t be!” I reasoned with myself. “I have asked for healing and haven’t had pain for so long!”

But as I recovered my breath and headed for the car, I knew this was the old injury talking to me. But quickly I caught myself: “Hey, stop that! So I can feel pain. So what? I will continue to trust Jesus to give me total healing! That He doesn’t or can’t heal, IS A LIE.”

The thought struck me. How good is the devil at his job? “Did God really say….?”  He sows doubt and fear very well. Half-truths and deceit. Even truth in the mouth of the deceiver, will be a lie.

But then I had another thought. It made me glad for my physically stiff neck.

No matter how “well” the devil does his job, the Holy Spirit does His work better. BUT, The Holy Spirit is not just better at His “ job”, The Holy Spirit is More able, More powerful, motivated by limitless Power, Love and Grace. He is creative not reactive. He is carrying out the plan The Father has had from the beginning. He is not fazed by our small faith, but spurs us on to ask more, trust more and Live The Life The Father has for us. Notice that the devil’s opinion doesn’t come into it!

Hallelujah. Our God Reigns and Loves and Heals and Provides. Nothing is finished till His Word says;

“It IS FINISHED!”

Arguably, some of the simplest, yet most vital words that Jesus uttered on earth.

 “He IS RISEN!”

The Words spoken of Jesus in disbelief at first. So improbable, so impossible, but so profoundly true, that that was the message that was taken into all the world.

It is the message we believe and speak to ourselves, no matter our circumstances.   We have a living Savior! Let all the peoples know “That our God Reigns!”                    A message worth sharing.

Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed. Hallelujah

I put my hands up

The Philistines trusted in the size of their champion,

David trusted in the size of his God!

Goliath trusted in his strength,

David trusted in HIS strength!

The giant put his hands up in pride,

David put his hand up in Faith.

Lord, I put my hand up!

My weakness does not affect Your strength!

My weakness does not affect Your Kingdom purposes!

My strength does not affect Your strength!

My strength does not affect Your Kingdom purposes!

I put my hands up in surrender, available, Faith.

It’s not about what’s in my hand or what I can do,

It’s about a relationship with a living, loving, Grace full Father.

One Hand

Hand

Sin prevailed, Pain Reigned

Darkness pressed in, Law bound

Who will pierce the Darkness?

Who will break the Bondage?

Who will bring the Light?

Who will Heal, who will Free?

Who will step in?

Who will step up?

Who will put their hand up?

…………………………

Only one hand went up

Only One hand could, only ONE could qualify

Jesus put His hands up more firmly than any nail could hold!

For YOU!