Which Heart?

There are so many ways of describing our hearts and attitudes towards God. Looking into it, I have seen four types of heart that I have seen or experienced.

A calloused heart, one that is hardened to God and His Word.

A shallow heart that has no roots and no depth spiritually and possibly in life.

A distracted heart that is pulled many ways or is torn about what to do.

An open heart that is receptive and responsive to God and His Word and Spirit.

We need to keep a daily intimacy with God, and base ourselves in His Word. If we live more in prayer and the Word, we have a better grounding when the trials and troubles come our way. We will be able to put on our spiritual armour and battle knowing from the Word that God is always there. We can fight with the Word and use our sword to cut through doubts and distractions.

God changes us if we let Him. He gives us a hunger for the Word and lets us live in a new way so we put ourselves under the ownership of our Father. We begin to see new habits forming that make us more like Jesus every day.

The Word of God is our direction. Use it. Change my heart Lord to an open heart for you and what you have to say to me.

When we let Him arise

As a worshipper, I love to praise my Lord. I love the closeness to Him, and how after I stop singing or praying, I can still feel Him close to me. Its like being in a cloud of light, soft and still. It can carry me through many a bad night when even though there is no sleep, there has been a night of being with my Lord and Friend.

God lives in our praise and worship. He inhabits it. He desires to hear our praise and the worship of His children. He waits for it, and is there with us during our day, still and sure.

Worship is our relationship and intimacy with God. He created Adam and even before Eve was created from her husband, there was a close and intimate relationship between Adam and God. Our Lord was looking for the worship that could restore what was lost when Lucifer was banished. We restore what was broken there, and Christ restores us back to His Holy presence. We can be with Him forever because of Jesus sacrifice for us.

God has a purpose for us all as well as our worship. He has a plan for us. We don’t see the plan if we sit around waiting for it to come to us. We have to make the decision to push the doors to see through prayer, if they are the way we are to go. Just because we maybe can’t see the plan yet, doesnt mean it isn’t there. It is like a seed that is in the ground. Just because we cant see it until just before it gets harvested, does not meant it is not there. We need to position ourselves in Him to see the plan. Prayer, worship and praise bring us in the right place with Him and all He has for us. He wants to bless His children, all of them.

Let God arise in your life. Let Him do His awesome work, and purposes that we cannot even imagine.

God hurts too

Psalm 51 vs 4 says “Against you, you alone have I sinned.”

Its hard to imagine sometimes that when we do something wrong, God hurts. We may feel that we have to defend our actions, we may be aggressive, we may be sorry, but how often do we say sorry to God for the hurt we cause Him? We may hurt others by our actions or by our words, or in some cases lack of action. Yes we hurt the other person or people, but God is hurting even more. How often are we more concerned with straightening things out with the other person, trying really hard to get back in their good books. How about we straighten things out in a spiritual sense first? We never know, but it may be easier to sort things out with the people concerned.

Does it affect us that our Lord God can be so hurt? My God is full of emotion which we can see right through the Bible. Can we learn to see things in Gods perspective? Can we learn to improve our spiritual reflexes to understand the hurts we put on Him, and when we need to get on our knees first before running to others to get them to “like” us again?

God is “slow to anger and abounding in love”. Thats for us, every day, every minute, no matter what we do. We can hurt Him over and over, but He will never stop loving us. We are made in His image. He set us apart for Himself. Is it any wonder then that we wound Him?

Maybe its time to let God shine His torch into our hearts and let us see the things we hold on to, the things that are wounding us and we won’t let go of. Let His light shine right through all the dark places in us, showing us the things we are ashamed of, so He can clean us out and let us feel new again. Spring clean the dirty, dark, horrible bits.

Lord, make me an instrument

Watchman Nee says “If the life of a christian is to be pleasing to God, it must be properly adjusted to Him in all things.”

God measures the changes we make in our lives and thoughts against His own Son, Jesus and His most precious blood. He is the kind of plumb line on which how we live can be measured. Its a very high calling and if we try to stay as close to that line as we can, everyone we meet or who has contact with us will see the difference in us. They won’t be able to miss it. We will be oozing our love and trust in Jesus and our lives will demonstrate how much we want to be more like Him.

When I look in a mirror, I still find it hard to see Jesus reflecting back at me. I am made as a beautiful image of God himself, and am wonderfully made. My hair, my eyes, every lump and bump even down to my little ears, which are really small! I am made perfect. But to walk in that perfection?

I need to rest in Him more, and then I know which way to go, because God has had the time to talk to me, without the distractions we can place before our time with Him.

My Father wants to express the love of His Son through us. What an amazing idea!! Our life is the life of Christ. If we want to be more like Him, and see Him more and more each day in the mirror when we look into it, we have to stay IN Him. We think we can live our lives without our quiet times with our Lord, or our times reading His word. We can’t. We never could.

We need to be ready instruments, waiting for Him to play His aweome tunes through us. To play His spiritual music through us and our lives and thoughts.

Stand

Ephesians tells us of the armour of God that we need to put on every day to withstand the attacks of the evil one. It tells us to STAND in the armour. Stand, not run or march which we would normally see when a soldier of old put his armour on ready for war or attack. Stand. The Greek translation as far as I remember is to “hold fast”. To hold fast to the position we are at when we put the armour on. Not to go forward, but to protect that which is behind us. Our life and our salvation. We don’t need to fight by going forward, the fight is already won by the Cross. We don’t stand alone either. We have the whole host of heavens armies with us to our back and sides and all around us. At our side is our friend, healer and saviour, Jesus. We don’t hold our position on our own, ever. It may feel isolating going through difficult times and tough periods of illness or loss. We are never alone though. We are standing with our Lord protecting ourselves from the attacks and darts from the Devil, and the armour doesn’t cover our backs. We are protected at the front because that is where the attacks will come from. If we are retreating, we don’t need protection. There is no need to attack someone who is on the run. Keep looking forward. Keep standing in faith with your Friend. Keep standing and facing what life and the Devil throws at you, in the full knowledge that you are not alone, you are fighting with the best army in the whole of history. With the best Commander and Captain you could possibly imagine. He knows how the fight ends, and He also knows that the fight was completed and won 2000 years ago. The fight now is a desperate one from the Devil who lost and is trying to pull as many as he can from being with their God. Don’t let him win, it has been Finished and it is won. Stand. Stand with the knowledge that the fight was for each of you. It is finished.

Just sit

I don’t know about you, but just sitting, not doing anything, just being, is really hard to do. At least for more than 5 mins! To sit, and just be, with God is vital, and very important. It is difficult in the busy world we live in and the busy lives we lead, to take the time to sit and do nothing. Learning the joy of being with God, and just letting Him be with me in silence and allowing Him to speak in complete peace is something unusual in our lives.

We feel that we need to do something all the time. Busy church, doing spiritual things, on the go. It can be good things that we fill out time with. Maybe things that actually need doing, because if we don’t do it, it will not get done properly. Well, maybe it wont. So what?

Jesus said on the cross “It is Finished”. So why do we feel that we need to keep busy and do lots of things to fill our lives? If it is finished, we dont need to buy or do anything. It was given freely and we can’t run around before we sit with the Lord so He can minister to us and give us the resources we need for the lives we live. He will never ask us to do anything without making sure we are equipped for that job before we start.

Jesus expects high standards from us, but only because He expected it of Himself in His own life. He knows we can do it or it would never be asked of us. In everything, sit first, and then live the life you have been given with strength and purpose. Above all with the faith that He never leaves us to do anything alone.

When all is said and done……worship

We are all on a journey through life. We are on a journey of worship. That is what we have been made for, and that is what we crave to do.

It is not about one service or one prayer meeting. Its about all of them, and about life outside of the four walls of where we hold our Sunday/Saturday services. The journey eventually leads us to God and the biggest worship session we could ever imagine!

In a way this journey is about how we see God and how we view worship. If we don’t look at how everything we do can be for God, then we may be seeing our worship wrong.

If you are called to a job, it might not be within the Church body, but could be anything the Lord gives you to do, then do it as though He is stood next to you doing the job along side you. That is where He is, we just need to realise this. He is everywhere, and with everyone and in heaven before we were born and after we are gone at the same time. We can worship Him in all we do each day at a time if we do it for Him.

Not everyone is called to upfront ministry, or to lead thousands in worship. We are not all called to be Ministers or leaders in the church. We might be called to foster vulnerable children, volunteer at the local food bank, run a counselling service or work in a bank. Do it for the Lord and worship Him all through the working day, and then you will begin to see that life is a worship journey from beginning to end and you are on the ride of your life.

More than 10,000

Reading a book by Tim Hughes and listening loads to Matt Redman’s album 10,000 Reasons this last week. In a way, both are good teachers of worship by different methods. One by singing, one by reading. There are many different forms of worship, but all should get us to the same place. A place where we have put God first and fallen to our knees in worship, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Worship for the Lord can be by putting other people before ourselves, maybe by letting them take credit for something we may normally feel we deserve the credit for. If we are putting Gods desires first, maybe life and its struggles dont feel the same. Worries dont feel so bad, stresses dont feel quite so stressful. We can love rather than feeling resentment, hate, dislike, sarcasm, critisism.

Serving God and our fellow members is a big part of worship. Yes, we may not get to much thanks for putting chairs out, tidying the kitchen or cleaning after coffee time, but it can be worship to the Lord when we do it for Him. Does it really matter if we dont get thanks here, but when we get to heaven there is our Lord, telling all around the same as He said of His own Son, “Here is my child, who I am well pleased and love”. I want that. I really do. Its just so hard to keep those bad emotions and feelings about other down and to make the decision to feel different and to push others forward to the rewards we may feel we deserve more than them.

We really do have 10,000 reasons to thank God for. But we also have thousands and thousands of 10,000 years to worship Him and be with Him. I cant wait, and sometimes feel the same as Paul. I want to go and be with my Father, but feel that He has more work for me to do with my children and church. How hard is the choice?!?!? Worship forever, or fulfilling His work.

Altered images…..

It was one the hottest days so far this year yesterday, and the warmest we have had up in the North so far. A wonderful day to travel to York with my lovely friends to a women’s conference led by Mercy Ministries. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but definitely not what we got.

In the beautiful old Methodist church with near 300 ladies (and the odd brave man!), the 4 speakers set to work on releasing us from some of the distorted images we have of ourselves from childhood onwards. This is something that most of us will suffer during our lifetimes, and has never been just about what is said or done to women alone. When we look in the mirror at ourselves, what do we see? Do we see what others see, or what God see? These are the distorted images, or maybe we are just looking in the wrong mirror? My beautiful friend told me that the full length mirror she has in her bedroom has a sheet over it! Why does society or insensitive role models leave us in the position that we feel the need to hide who we really are?

How many of us have been told that we were a ‘mistake’, maybe a child born later in life or just a surprise. Never a mistake. God does not make mistakes. Ever. Not one person is a mistake. We are all His children, and He loves us from the moment of conception.

We can be free from chains of bondage, cages to keep others from getting close to us and the masks we place over ourselves to feel safer. God is the release, He is the Healer and He is the only one who will never let us down. I can love all, but will at some point let someone down by my actions or by saying the wrong thing. I can be a friend, but Jesus is a closer one.

Aside

Communion

Beautiful service in the warm, but nice breezy hall. Windows opened to let breeze in, but know that neighbours could hear us praising our Lord with joy. We had communion in both ways today, with our Lord, and by our remembering what He did for us, and what we are grateful for.

I love taking communion. For me, its one of the main reasons I go to church. I want to praise and thank my Father for all He has done for me and for the whole world, past and present. The actual service itself is more given over to Him, than some services. Its very easy to fall into the trap of taking from the service you are in, and God not getting much from it at all. We are there for Him. We were made to worship Him. If we do not worship Him, what do we worship? If we don’t have a life walking with the Lord, then who are we walking with?

Everyone is born with a part of their soul missing. That part was the part that sin took away. The only way to get it back and to feel a whole person is to be with God and to live for and with Him. Nothing we do can fill that hole. Even though we look very hard, nothing can take its place. When we stop looking for other stuff, and come to God, the hole gets filled and we see that it all makes sense now, all we have strived for, fought for, desperatly tried to buy, was the wrong thing. The gift that fills us is free, and always has been. Someone else bought it for us and packaged it up for us. It was bought with a very precious, one of a kind, unique item. Jesus.

Aside

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