Thursday, 28 October 2010

Kindness is Big

I am more convinced than ever that kindness is a fruit the enemy has stolen from our lives and our culture. It is seen as insipid, somehow weak. The culture screams at us to toughen up, to fight to get on top of the pack. Even in Christian circles, true self-giving is not always evident. There is an element of competetiveness that creeps in as we strive to establish 'our ministry'. We long for our hearts to be heard and that can easily become more important than hearing the hearts of others.

Yet we are told in scripture that God - in His kindness - sent Jesus to the cross (Eph 1:7). In His kindness, He chose us to share in his eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10). These are Big Things. Kindness is bigger than I had thought.

I told God I wanted to learn kindness and what came my way? Inconvenience, unkindness, hassle etc.

An example:I was working at home when the phone rang. The church administrator had rung to say a lady in the church had flooded out her flat. No one could be reached, so the administrator had rung me because?? That's what went through my head - 'why me? I don't work for the church. What could I do about it? Can't the church administrator deal with it - she's only just around the corner from the lady and is paid by the church?' Still, something made me supress words of complaint and I agreed to stop by. Well aware that I had a vax that would suck up water, I left it in the shed & made my way across town to see the lady. I have a bad back and the thought of lifting the heavy machine in and out of the car, across a road from the car park and up 2 flights of stairs to her flat, was more than I could bear. So I went there, willing to offer moral support only but was shocked at the amount of water in her carpets which squelched as I walked on them. Her distress was obvious, and she was furious with herself for causing the flood. As she talked, a wave of compassion ran through me. Love came from somewhere and moved me. Now I wanted to help. Silently I decided to go home for the vax until I noticed that she had the very same thing sitting in her hallway!
"Does that work?" I asked. She didn't know. Her daughter had bought it & she didn't know how to operate it. Well I assembled it, plugged it in and spent the next 90 minutes dragging the thing around sucking up bucket loads of water. Yes it hurt my back (but not forever - it wasn't so bad the next day) but so what? The look on her face that someone cared enough to help, was reward enough. I found myself thanking God that I hadn't had to go home to get mine, thanking Him for the opportunity to ignore 'self' and give something of His kindess away.

It is so easy to be kind to those we know and love and who are kind to us. My challenge was to be kind to someone who I didn't know and who had messed up. After that, challenges came in thick and fast. Customers at work (my day job is serving the public) can be very demanding. Could I be kind even there, when colleagues regularly moan about them? How about when the customers were rude or ungrateful? How about when I am tired or feeling unwell? Or when I am desperate for someone to be kind to me - am I still willing to 'put on kindness' (Col 3:12)? And when I fail in it (as is inevitable), will I be kind and forgiving to myself? What about my thought life? Can I be capable of kind thoughts? (So often I can say the right, kind things but be thinking the opposite). When someone gets what I desire, can I walk away from jealousy and be kind towards them instead?

I told God I wanted to learn kindness and rarely has He answered me so quickly, giving me countless opportunities to learn it!! It makes me think it is something close to his heart. Kindess is simply love expressed. And God is Love.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Beauty of Kindness

I was struck recently by a phrase in common usage - ‘Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty’ – the first part of the phrase particularly struck me. Why should acts of kindness be ‘random’. To me, random implies that the act was done without forethought to no one in particular. Also - how can beauty be senseless? Beauty makes perfect sense to me – any beauty is but a reflection of our beautiful Creator God. Back to kindness though - whilst a definition I found went on to say the acts of kindness could be either spontaneous or planned, I realised it was the word ‘random’ that niggled me.

When I looked on the internet for this phrase I found a wealth of information. It is the title of books, both fiction and fact, it is a ‘movement’, there are groups set up, both on the net and within communities to promote acts of random kindness, some countries have ‘random acts of kindness’ weeks. It is a movement amongst Christians and non-Christians. The aim is ‘to make the world a nicer place’ or to ‘cheer people up’. An Act of Random Kindness is defined as ‘a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases an animal’ [Wikipedia]

It made me wonder about the usefulness of what I felt I had been challenged to do. Why bother, if others are already doing it? But still I felt a prompting to ‘go deeper’. I wanted to do more than make the world a nicer place. Niceness is twee – it comes and goes and can often be just skin deep. Randomness implies a lack of deep caring, a casual, maybe flippant, action.

Real kindness must surely come from, and touch, our hearts. What if the aim was not to make the world a nicer place, but to become more Christlike? What if the acts of kindness were planned, as well as spontaneous ones? Spontaneous, but not random, for they would come from a heart prepared and planning to be kind to both those I know, and total strangers.

If I really set my heart to do this, what would happen?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Rock

I was somewhere this week when someone had a picture of God wanting to remove 'boulder' from people's lives. Boulders being huge immovable rocks blocking the way ahead.
As I pictured this, I pictured obstacles in my life as we prayed.
However, I had the strangest sensation that God was not wanting to remove the boulder, but He wanted to lift me onto it, where I would be closer to Him... the very thing that I felt blocked my path, would actually bring me closer to Him.
This was in my mind as I went to church & to my interest & amazement, many of the songs we sang today were about 'the rock' the Laura Hackett 'When I am afraid...Lead me to the rock that is higher ' song (wonderful song!

It struck me as I studied the word that God brought water out of the rock (Num 20:11), honey and oil from the rock (Deut 32:13) & fire from the rock more than once (Judges 6:20, 13:19). The rock is often used as an analagy for the Lord in many psalms & in Job - who must sure have felt the oppressive suffering was like a rock in his life and yet also reflected upon the amount of treasures found within rock (Job 28)

Something I wrote today:

is the rock that blocks my way.
Yet even as I strike it with bare fists
water flows from it.
As I give in and give my all as an offering
so fire flares from it
consuming all.
Then the sweet honey
and anointing oil
drip from it
and I am blessed.

Hands lift me
onto this rock which blocked my way
and now my feet are on it
and I see it is You - this rock.
You hide me on it in Youself
I am lifted up
Protected and safe.

My way no longer matters
For I stand on You, my rock
and your ways are laid out all around
and I see you
face to face
and am lost in wonder
love and praise.

Monday, 18 October 2010

A Day with the Angels

There is this place I go to. I suppose technically it is a ‘conference centre’ but really it is a converted farm in the middle of nowhere

More aptly, it is called an ‘Encounter Centre’

Happily I am invited to go there once a month. There is such a sense of ‘The Presence’ in the place.

It made me think – what is it about some places that makes the Presence of God seem richer, fuller, more intense, more ‘present’? I dislike ‘Hype’ intensely. The ’celebrity culture’ makes me sick & I hate it when I see it creeping into the church. I really don’t want to jump on the bandwagon of the latest trend or hunt after the most annointed ministry…….and yet, some places & some people are absolutely special & I love to be around them.

If God is everywhere (including inside of me) then why should he be more present in Lox Lane than in my own prayer room? Why should some people be more anointed than others?
 Coming to the conclusion that it is probably something to do with how ‘abandoned’ a person or place is to God that makes it more ‘attractive’ – both to God and to angels and to people.

Concerning people – some are just more sold out/surrendered/abandoned than others. More of their ‘flesh life’ is dead, they live more by the Spirit. That makes them carry the fragrence of Christ more than others who live out of ‘the flesh’. No wonder you want to spend time with them, either being, or learning from them. Perhaps some of the fragrence will rub off. The danger is to forget they are still human, to put them on a pedestal & idolise or worship them.

 Concerning places – some are just dedicated to him in a way that others are not. If a place is dedicated to him (like the OT temple), I believe that angels also gather – especially if it is a place where prayer or worship is regurly offered (like some churches or places like IHOP, houses of prayer, Lox Lane etc). Now I want to worship God, not angels, but there is something about their presence that magnifies the sense of God’s Presence.
 I wish everyone could go to such a place. Of course God wants to build such a place in each of our hearts, but the sad truth is we often do not dethrone ‘self’ enough to allow him to reign there & inhabit us fully. The more time I spend in Lox Lane or other such places, the more inclined I am to ignore self or rather to submit it to the wonderful Holy Spirit.
 Today was wonderful. Like drinking the best vintage wine……I feel a poemcard brewing….watch this space!!

Friday, 15 October 2010

City of Gold

I suppose this blog could sound very self-absorbed. But I spent years running around evangelising and serving and ‘doing’ until I was run ragged, and pretty unhappy inside.

It was like trying to fix a broken car by pushing it everywhere & making the outside look good. It is much better to fix the engine first, yes then a respray, but it will travel a lot better when the insides are fixed first.

I was reading about Heaven in Revelation 21 & it struck me that yes, God wants to establish heaven ‘in the end’, but He also wants to establish it now in our hearts, now.
As we become a dwelling place for Him, so his love will overflow out of us & touch others – a far more effective ‘witness’ to him than any amount of arguing or ‘screw yourself up it is time to go out pray for strangers’ moments!

This is what I wrote about His city of gold – I think His Spirit put it in my heart to write:
My holy city sparkles like a precious stone and shines with my glory
The gold in my city is pure. It is as clear as glass.
The gates – those most precious ways in, are made of pearls.
The walls are made of precious stone and inlaid with gemstones.
A river flows down the main street, bringing life. It is as clear as crystal.
On the banks grow trees that are always bearing fruit. Their leaves bring healing.
This is where I dwell. My city is beautiful, pure, precious. There is nothing hidden and no closed doors.

Beloved, I see roads in your hearts. Roads that have been hard to walk on. Roads that are cracked, potholed and stony. I have come, I am coming and I will come to prepare a place. Let me clear the rubble, let me fill the potholes and remove the stones.
Let me repair your broken walls and rebuild them with precious stones. I would put jewels in your walls. Precious stones that are fruits of my spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Let me place gates of precious pearls in your walls. Many gates, for many to pass though, but each gate will be guarded by an angel, so that nothing can come in and damage the beauty within.

I want to lay roads of pure gold down the streets of your heart. Will you let me? We will dance on these streets that are golden. The gold is my love. I will release my river of life to flow through you. It is pure and clear with no falsehood hidden in it. It will bring life. It will water the trees I would place in your heart. Trees flourishing with fruit and growing leaves for the healing of others.

You will need no sun or moon in this city of gold – no source of external lighting. For I will be the light within you. I will be your light…shining out for others to see.

This city of gold will be your heart and I will dwell there with you. I am there already but let us beautify this heart of yours and transform it into a city of gold. See I have bought the gold and precious stones with me. I am the living water…I simply wait for you to say ‘yes’ and yield to me.

Friday, 1 October 2010


My first blog here summerised where I was at the start of the year.
A flashback to a month previously, in December’s 2009 I wrote…

Swords (December 2009)

In December some guys from RTF came & gave us ‘swords’ from God. Not real ones, but spiritual ones.

As I stood waiting for my sword, I felt God shaking His head. No sword for the one who is not even safe to be trusted with a breadknife – no. For me He had a pen. A big fat golden pen that can only be held in 2 hands. It is a pen to write truth with.

He said ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’

Psalm 45:
Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet….put on your sword, O mighty warrior!

In December 2009 a friend who does not know me well prayed over me that whatever was blocking me & stopping ‘that creative work’ was lifted.

Is it any suprise that after getting a word like that, pointing clearly to the road ahead, that a huge Spiritual attack should have come. The daft thing is…I know this is what happens so often, but it is as if I forget. My writing is a weapon – no wonder the enemy tries to knock the golden pen out of my hand.

Much of this year I have been caught in the grip of a war I’ve barely understood. It has felt like standing in the eye of a hurricane. I myself have been protected but everything around me has been ripped up and rearranged until the whole world looked different.