A fool for Christ!

March 5, 2007

What fool would be out walking his dogs at 5.30am?

This morning i saw a guy whom i often spot with two large dogs giving them some early morning exercise.  The man walking his dogs could’ve been tucked up in bed or at home checking emails.  Instead he opts for the walk.

Whatever the reason for this craziness i see dedication written all over him.  Yes, the dogs may bring him joy, but they also come with vets bills, mess, and are time takers.

Self sacrifice is a funny thing and is at the centre of what it is to love.  We do seemingly strange things out of love e.g. walk a dog at a ridiculous hour in the morning.

God became human and that was a rather unusual thing to do, an act of self sacrifice when He could’ve stayed safely in heaven but Love drove Him to come and live among us. 

If we haven’t done something sacrificial of later maybe that signals that we’re not being driven by love, but by selfishness – doing that which prospers ‘me’.

Today try do something for someone else which you wouldn’t necessarily WANT to do.  Make a cup of tea for a colleague when you’d rather stay sitting at your desk, or pray with a friend when you’d rather pray on your own for yourself.

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I’ve been on an epic journey of late, battling spiritual blizzards, shooting arrows of faith at mountains which block my path…

It’s been a hard trek, and would’ve been easy to give up during the course of the adventure.  However when you have treasure you’re fighting to get to, it keeps you going, even when things seem impossible – the treasure acts as an incentive to continue, giving you a boost of energy.

Maybe your treasure is your children, your spouse, your friends, your family, or some promises God has made to you personally, or the promise of eternal life itself?

We all have dragons to slay along the way, and they may be around for sometime in the form of challenges at work, or difficulties with a family member or with someone’s health.  Whatever the dragon you have to slay, you need the hope of a treasure, something keeping you going.  Obviously you first need to identify the dragon you’re trying to slay.

Whatever dragon there is in your life, know that in Christ you have the victory over it.

People without vision perish, those without hope give up!

Matters of the Heart

February 5, 2007

If something in your life is of God then Satan won’t be happy so will try to confuse you.

When something which is precious to you becomes a chore or a struggle, be encouraged that this is possibly because you’re in exactly the right place to be maximumly effective and fruitful.

Matters close to the heart can cause extremes: much pain and ecstatic joy.  The heart is a complex place where we talk of emotions originating, the place we get hurt and offended, the place where we take risks, the place people can hit us at the deepest level.  One area of heart searching i’ve come to realise many young Christians battle with is the question of, ‘Where does friendship end and relationship start?’.

Remembering all the way back to my University days i recall one afternoon when a Christian sister of mine (now married with a child)  came out with me for coffee and a chat.  She shared how all the male Christian friends in her life were so wonderful that she’d be happy if God called her to marry any of them!!

At the same time as discerning who might be her future spouse this lovely woman of God was trying to work out whether God might have her assigned for a life of celibacy.  There were so many thoughts my peers went through in those days with regards to their vocational journey…  to help her quest someone suggested that to know who your lifelong partner will be is to say, ‘could i live without this person?’.

Essentially i believe God calls us to the places where we’ll flourish most, but that doesn’t mean there will be no struggle or temptation, even once you’ve made a decision.  The hardships in marriage, the hardships in a life of celibacy are to hone you into a more beautiful diamond, knocking off the rough edges, making you reflect God’s love more.

If you’re struggling with your vocation, your work, or any relationship in your life, rest assured that God will use it to make you more like Him… for He Himself went through trials and temptations from Satan who wanted Him to go ‘off course’ and not receive the prize laid out for Him! 

Don’t let Satan steal the gifts God has for you!  Don’t give up!

Instant patience in a jar

February 2, 2007

At the moment i am having to wait on God for an answer to something, the only trouble is i’m rubbish at being patient and it can be painful.

Life is full of opportunities to practise patience… whether it’s a spouse being slow, waiting for exam results to arrive, or enduring the frustration of a breakthrough you’ve been interceding for taking a long time to come about.

Our instant culture of microwave meals, replies to emails in split seconds means we come to expect everything whenever we want it or desire it – self control doesn’t seem to feature! If you desperately want something enough you will wait for it, and grow through the waiting process.

I have a tendency to try and rush things ahead of time, but just as taking a cake out before it’s fully baked would cause your stomach to be unhappy, so too rushing God for an answer can result in pain, hurt, anger and things going wrong.  I’m reminded of those verses often read at funerals about there being a time for everything.

Abraham waited til he was seriously old before what God promised him came about -that he would have many descendants.  His son is married at a late age… he waited 80 yrs for descendants to be born.  Don’t give up.  Keep waiting because God will come through.  It may be hard and you may doubt God’s hand in the situation, but He is faithful and will come through!

Love til it hurts!

February 1, 2007

I was chatting to a friend about the words ‘Love until it hurts’, which i think are rightly attributed to Mother Teresa. 

She of course is the lady who spent most of her life tending to those that most people chose to avoid: the ‘unclean’!  In years gone by lepers would’ve been total outcasts in society, they had to ring a bell when they were coming down the street so people would know to flee.  They were avoided in some respect for medical reasons i.e. that no one wanted to contract what they had.  However lepers, like all people, are made for love: to be loved and give love. 

If someone at your church smells or is unpopular, would you avoid them, not wanting to be associated with them? 

Put yourself in the position of being lonely, feeling ugly and unwanted -how blessed would you feel if someone took time to show you some interest and care?  Maybe there’s a mum at school about whom others gossip, maybe an awkward person in your prayer group people partly ignore…

Mother Teresa chose to ignore what others thought, and even her own selfish desires, giving herself to the service of others, even though it was a risk.

We are called not to have favourites: “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes… have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (from James 2:1-4)

Treat EVERYONE as you would wish to be treated, even if it means dying to your own desires and wants i.e. even if it hurts.