Take now. Pay later. Sin is always available right now. Don’t worry about the payment right away… But be aware.. it will require a payment. And the interest that comes with that, not only wants payment from you, but also often from those around you. You will pay. And it will also seek payment from those around you. Do not be fooled. Nothing is free.
If you need guidance, The Bible is the only timeless book that is interested in you and those around you. It is the only book that is for every nation and people group, for every age and generation. It is unchanging yet as relevant today as ever.
The Living God knows the cost of sin. He took it all upon Himself and paid with His life for our freedom from it. And yet it continues to entice us. Even though we can see the price throughout our broken families and cities and nations, we continue to try and negotiate with the devil and the consequences of sin.. Why do we think it will be different for us when we dabble, than when other people dabble?
There is a cost to following Christ. And there is a cost to not following Christ.
Choose wisely. For you. And for those around you. God wants what you have- all of you: your heart, your family, your work, your future, your destiny, your talents, your legacy, your future generations… And the devil also wants it all, apart from your heart; he has no desire for that- apart from its total destruction.
Get a debit life and pay upfront and watch what God will do.
The God of multiplication from the honest little 🙂
If you are going through any kind of fire right now, you have already made it further than the ones who put you there.. The strongest men from the army are the ones that put Daniel’s friends in the fire, but were killed by even the heat of the fire as they got close to the furnace. This shows that the fire that is supposed to be against us can actually be a place of protection from the hands of those who have been assigned to destroy us, while destroying the dark assignments themselves. (Obviously I am speaking about the dark spirits of destruction and not the people of flesh and blood- as our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against the mighty unseen powers/spirits.)
We know that the fire is not a place where we would choose, but it can be a place that is from our choice. Who has the highest honour in our lives (because the men were very honourable to the king, but didn’t hold him in the Highest honour)? Who is the Authority in our lives? Who will/do we serve?
The understanding of our choice is very powerful and very necessary to be constantly aware of. We always have a choice. We may not be able to change the circumstances of what is going on around us, but we can always choose how we respond to it.. And this is where we will be held accountable to God. God is not like man that He is impressed with our performance. He wants our hearts. He sees our hearts. That is what He is interested in. He cannot be fooled and does not have an ego to be smothered with empty kisses and praise. He knows those who are truly His. And therefore we can be confident that just like the Hebrew guys were given the ultimatum; we can be sure that God is able to save us, but even if He doesn’t, He is still God and we have the choice of whether or not to still choose Him.
So back to the start.. If you feel like you are in the fire, if the heat has been turned up in your life or in your current season, or you feel like you have been separated from everyone else in your community because of your decision to follow Christ; then remember your Hebrew brothers time in their fire- when the chains that were wrapped around them were loosed, where they were able to be seen to walk where others weren’t even able to stay alive, where they had the company of Another, where they were able to witness- just by their walk in the fire- to the one who put them there- their accuser and destroyer, and then ultimately to the whole nation! There is a greater Master Planner at work. We don’t have the full picture, but we can trust in the One who does.
I pray your spirit to be strengthened mightily with deep and strong conviction of your God and Saviour, so that you can stand the trial, the fire, and the freedom. May you know Peace Himself and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. And may your life testify to the Other One in the fire with you.
The book of Job has been my recent reading and I love how when Job had all of his life interrupted by the work of the enemy in his life his friends went straight to him, saw him, wailed loudly, tore their clothes and just sat in the dust with him for seven days and nights, without saying a word- for they saw his suffering was too deep for words (Job 2.11-13).
This is sometimes something that I think we miss the value of- just being there with someone as they pass through a dark night of their soul. We seem to think that we need to have the right words, or profound encouragement or wisdom to take to them, when in fact, the pain is too deep for words..
Let us just be there. And not only in times of sorrow, but also times of celebration, or simply through the mundacity of life. This is what friendship is built from.. just being there.
During lockdown me and a friend have been each others personal trainers and taken in turns to be ‘instructor’ for exercise sessions. It has been such a gorgeous time that I am missing now the world is opening up again! During my sessions, I would shout “ENGAGE CORE” and ask him to respond “Core engaged!” (Which he never did because he’s not pliable to my bossy-ness!)
But this ‘core engagement’ is something that we all need to be aware of and intentional about through life. There is an alignment that is needed that comes from the core of us that will then help us to be strong and steady in our stance. It is an intentional holding of ourselves. It is not our default position. It must be have our intentional and proactive engagement of mind, body and spirit.
Whatever season we are in or situation we face, we must ‘engage’ and bring into alignment the core of our being so that we are not easily caught off-balance. The more we do this the taller we stand. But it is always with intention. No strength comes like a summer’s breeze!
Have you ever ordered something from Amazon and it’s come in a box that is just totally oversized for the content??!
Sometimes that is what we do! We have content but then package it with such excess and drama that the contents get lost in all the ‘packaging’ so to speak!
This can be pondered over many things that may cross our minds, but one of the the things for which this ponderment came from is mental health.. We all know that there are dark times during life. There are times of despair, pain, oppression and other ‘darkness’. As believers in Christ, we know that Jesus’ prayer for us is not for us to be taken our of the world, but for God to protect us in it. We are also told that we will face many trials, but that we can trust that God has overcome the world. With this in mind, when we face trials, we can face the darkness knowing that God is with us, that He is walking alongside us as we grope around to find our way through the pain and darkness.
It is in this place where we can sometimes add the extra packaging and it becomes shrouded with all sorts of diagnosis and ‘expert’ labels.. I am not against at all the medical blessing of help and wisdom we have access to. I am against everything having a subscription when some things need to be walked through, not medicated through. We have a very un-resilient culture as we don’t seem to face up to what is going on. It is too painful and dark. However, the truth is that if things aren’t dealt with; they do’t go away. They just go into the dark corners and recesses of our minds and can cause more long-term issues. For which we have other labels and medications… And there becomes our cycle of excess packaging around the content that we started with..
Let us be a generation who are honest and healthy. This includes facing pain, discomfort, and walking through lonely periods of life to bring us into wellness with a good working filter on our lives. Let us not be afraid of the dark, but if we are, to face it anyway. This is where real courage lies that we can teach the next generation with experienced and home-grown maturity.
Recently my parents have got themselves a puppy after their previous dog died. They now have an older dog and new puppy. Now, I’m not massively a ‘pet-person’ but I do like animals..to the degree of not being inconvenienced by them!
Normally my parents have had rescue dogs that have been out of puppy age, and so this is very new for them. It is a kind of cute puppy but it is manic. It is hyper and chews everything (as puppies do) and it can be pretty annoying and be totally testing of my patience and kindness.. When I visit, the older dog has my loyalty as the new ‘upstart’ is eagerly seeking attention at all costs; we both have a growl of “stay away”!
But as I ponder this season of new life, I am challenged in myself to not feel like I need to be ‘loyal’ to the old- whether this is the dog(!) or a settled and understood way of life, or whatever.. Loyalty is totally a brilliant quality for absolute definite, but it must not keep us from growing, maturing, and being challenged to be better and renew our minds, lifestyles, characters. We must be careful that we do not exchange our loyalty for tradition and therefore become rigid in our growth.
Even as we come out of lockdown, is our loyalty to the tradition of how things used to be, or is it a loyalty to our convictions?? This is an incredible, and probably once in a lifetime, opportunity for each of us to evaluate ourselves and what we are living for. What has become tradition and what is our loyal cause that we want to live for and by.. Are we growling at the new era and wanting what we’ve always known without being challenged by the fresh new, and perhaps cocky upstart?!? Or are we willing, able, and wide-eyed to embrace the new and fresh life around us that demands our attention and kindness and our maturity..?
We need to be careful that we don’t “mother” those around us to try and “protect” them from getting hurt.
I know that mother’s generally have an innate sense of protection for those in their care, and that is such an incredible strength. It is God-given and a blessing. However, one thing that we all must be aware of is that, if we are not careful, our love and care towards others around us can actually stifle and clip wings rather than empower and allow soaring. This is when we love from a sense of fear and not freedom.
Life is full of pain and heartache. We cannot “protect” anyone from this. However, we can help to build resilience and strength, the ability and know-how to choose life and not death, and to grow and take risks. We ultimately have to remember that God entrusts to us those who He puts in our lives and it is His strength and by His grace that we are able to love and lead others.
If we are in His hands, then we are in the safest place there could ever be. This may not mean ‘safe’ in the way that we know it, but it will mean the fullest purpose of life that God has for us.
May we not live safely- but fully. And may that be the example to those we are raising. There is enough anxiety in the lives of the young and old alike. Let that not be our story. Let us raise those who believe that nothing is impossible, that to fail is to grow, and that to fall and bruise is a crucial part of learning.
Let us push others out of the nest when we know they are ready, and watch them face fear, struggle, and fly. To do what they were born to do.
“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me..” ….What a crazy mad lie this is! How further from the truth is this that we sing over little ones and make so light of inner pain and power of death in the words.
How many of us have had broken bones and bruises but not been disabled by them later? And how many have had words spoken to, over, or about us that have absolutely disabled us in various areas of our life? Perhaps even without realising it.
And now, more than ever, we have a diagnosis for everything. The label machine is working overtime as crazy speed!
May we have a God-filter over our mouths and be very aware of what we say to others, and ourselves. And may we have God-filters over our ears so that we do not allow opinions, ‘facts’, or any other toxins to have the power to disable our lives- whatever that looks like.
In the Gospels we read about the woman who had the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48). This woman has been a great inspiration to me recently. Her story is that she had suffered for twelve years and been as proactive as she could be with the resources that she had (money). She spent everything seeking for her healing. She had invested everything she had and held nothing back in her desperation to be well. She is a woman of incredible faith- in doctors, in medicine, in hope, and she withheld nothing in this pursuit. Twelve years is a long time. I can’t imagine the pain of it physically nor can I imagine the pain of being socially isolated and disconnected and rejected as “unclean”. I cannot begin to imagine the sense of deep sadness and disappointment that would have been tormenting her mind and spirit. She is an amazing example of resolute perseverance in hope and pro-activity. She is a rebel hopeful.
As I read about her recently, I was challenged to push through the ‘crowd’ of rejection and pain and the pressure of man and all our limits, judgements, exclusions of acceptance, inner disappointments with historical evidence to bear, and to fix my eyes on Jesus- the One in whom nothing is impossible.
Let us have resolute faith, trust and expectation. He who has promised is faithful and He will finish what He starts. If you have a promise, it may cost you everything you have, but keep going.. It will surely come to pass. If you need a promise, The Word of God is full of them for us to take and claim and go after. Don’t give disappointment any access key- he will surely get the key copied and give them out to his friends of discouragement, apathy, self-pity, depression, and other oppressive contacts. Keep God, guard and going.