Does it Hurt? 

“Does this hurt?” “How about here?”  At certain times all of us have heard those words from a Doctor who is checking out what physical problem we may have. I recall running across the lawn of a neighbours’s yard and not seeing the little wire fence in the dark of night, tripping over it and breaking an arm! It wasn’t difficult for the emergency room nurse to tell I had a problem as my arm twisted in the wrong direction!

Less obvious are the spiritual wounds we carry around that come as a result of our own sin, and that of others. Emotional wounds that were inflicted by a parent, a spouse, or another person we trusted, carry their own set of damages that leave scars. We human beings have an uncanny knack of hurting one another, sometimes we don’t even realize that we do so. But when we put our needs and wants before serving God and others, we cause damage. And, the result is that we ourselves become twisted emotionally and spiritually.

The twelve men who followed Jesus Christ were not exempt from this malady.  You will recall that one of their most heated discussions had to do with which one of them would be the greatest, the most important, when the kingdom of God reigns on the earth! Really? How could it be that after the Lord announced to them that he was going to be delivered to the Jewish authorities to be killed, that these men thought it correct to discuss the place of their importance! However, without them even knowing it, these men, in a spiritual sense, began to inflict themselves with a world of hurt. 

Whenever we begin to think about “me first”, like the disciples did in Jesus’day, we unknowingly begin to hurt ourselves. We convince ourselves in thinking that this is something we deserve! But unless God is the one who gives it to us, our striving for position or priority actually hurts ourself, and those closest to us. We unknowingly trip over the neighbour’s invisible wire. Our attitude needs to be that which places God first, others second and me last. 

Here is the sad thing we need to acknowledge, repent of and confess: the church has been the cause of this type of pain. To be specific, I’m not talking about the church as in the building, rather the church as in people who have knowingly hurt people. We have run over people in our effort to establish our agenda (we use “spiritual” language to do so!).  We turn member against member. Sooner or later God will call us to account as to what we have done! 

A Holy Spirit led, driven movement of God is not that. It is one where God’s people confess their sins one to another, and they don’t allow hurts to trip up God’s agenda. It is a movement in which the fruit of the Spirit is evidenced and God’s agenda takes first place. Nobody needs to ask who gets the credit but rather everyone knows it is God who gets the glory all day, everyday. 

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! May we treasure him, and may that be reflected in our desire to encourage others to do so as well!                                                                

Put to the Test

body_testinprogressIt would cause shivers to go through every member of the class.! Yes, it was that day again called “Oral Defense”. That fateful day when the professor would ask you to stand and begin to fire questions at you about the material that had recently been covered in class. No notes were allowed, one just had to count on his/her ability to recall the information in a second! We would not know when that day was going to come, we needed to be ready.

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Our Greatest Need

IMG_0086You and I are attracted to the successful and the flashy, it is part of our human nature, see Genesis 3 to prove that point!  What we are not attracted to is the cost to achieve such status. We prefer the easy route as to the one that is marked with pain and suffering. Often, we ask God for the easy route because, well…it is easy. It is my experience that God seldom operates on my agenda.

King Solomon (1 Kings 3-4), achieved the status of being the wisest and richest famous person in the world. People from all over came to get his opinion. I think we are drawn to this story because of what Solomon received. However, what we tend to forget about Solomon is his prayer asking God for wisdom to conduct his life and kingship.

So, I need to stop and ask myself the question, if God were to give me the same opportunity that He did to Solomon, what would I ask for? Money? Fame?

It is also interesting to note that the blessings that came to Solomon came as a result of what he asked for. He did not ask for riches or fame although, in the plan of God that is what He received. Above all, he knew that in order to conduct the affairs of the nation that he would need the heart and mind of God. And that is what he asked the Lord for.

I don’t know where you are in your journey of faith, but allow me to share that.  I am learning, little by little is that the blessings of God come as a result of being in harmony with the heart of God. Very seldom does He acquiesce to what I think I need in the moment of prayer.  Here is my conclusion after walking with the Lord for more than 30 years; When I have as priority God above everybody and everything else after THEN God will bless me, according to His will and plan, and not according to mine. By the way, in case you are wondering I am not talking about a “health, wealth, prosperity gospel.” I’m talking about a genuine humility that places God first!

So here is the question of the day:

What am you asking God for? What is the greatest need confronting you today? It may not be what comes first to your ming.

The wonderful promise of Scripture is this: “Seek me and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

The Humility of Christmas

 

christmas-2-728We have some strange phrases in English that are often posted on bumper stickers or websites like: “The one with the most toys at the end wins.” “The survival of the fittest.” Or, how about this one: “My opinions are awesome”.  What these all have in common is that people tend to think that he, or she, is always right, always to strongest and always finishes on top. We train our children to stand up for themselves and not take any “guff” from anyone.

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