Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Father Story

Sometimes it is good to remember what it is all about...

The Father Story inspired by Psalm 145:7

Once upon a time there is the most wonderful Father you could ever imagine. His eyes shine with love. When he looks at you it is overwhelming. It is like hot shafts of light penerating through you to the innermost depths of your heart. It is like every part of you is being hugged. Finally you know you are safe.

And this Father, this wonderful Father, is all powerful, for he is God. There is nothing soppy or sentimental about this love. It is the sort of love that puts strength into your heart. It fills you up until you overflow.

This Father walks across the entire planet collecting for himself all who would say yes to him. He has started to write a long and happy story which includes all these people, whom he adopts as his children. He loves them so much he inscribes all of their names – each of their names – onto the palms of his hands. He has big hands – there is room on them for every name. Even mine. Even yours. His wonderful goodness spills out from his heart.

Sometimes his children fall over and his heart is full of compassion for them and he reaches down and helps them. He is kind. He is kind to each one of them. He loves the songs they sing to him however out of tune they may be.

He is creating a special kingdom for them to live in. A place that he will rule over that will last forever. It is a majestic, glorious place, filled with splendour, filled with Him. His love pulses through the air and fills the whole kingdom with joy. It is part of the story. I am in this story. So are you. We can never fall out of it.

Ours is not the story of this dark world, though for a while we travel here. Even as we walk through it, there is a hope - a light, a flame in our hearts. Sometimes it blazes like a fire, sometimes it is just a little glowing ember, but it is always there – our hope. And always, our names are engraved on the palms of his hands, which are ever before him. We are all part of this wonderful, good story.

He is our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be His name...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

So if God is in us, why the struggle?

Like I said in December, God is in why is it so hard on days to retain that sense of His presence? That peace, that love. God does not change, so where does it go?
As Paul says in Romans 7:21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.
I heard a good explanation is a picture of it
The aim is to live out of the heart, which became filled with the Spirit once I submitted to God and gave Him my heart. Now He has renewed my heart. My heart is now good, spirit-filled and influences my feelings, thoughts & will.

But feelings, mind and will are also open to whatever influences life throws at them - be it sickness or any kind of adverse circumstances. Then they start getting noisy....the feelings scream 'this hurts' - and I feel terrible pain. The mind then questions..'why does it hurt? Have I done something wrong? I can't handle this, I must be rubbish...why has this happened?' It wrongly concludes 'God cannot love me...' The will loses the will to fight, to draw close to God, or even the will to live! It is swamped...and of course the enemy adds his 2 cents worth of lies and accusations too.

I am not strong enough to excercise will-power to get me out of this hole.The aim of course is to retreat to my heart, where God's spirit dwells and allow myself to hear His voice...allow it to still my calm the inner storm.

I think it will take a life time of practice to get there. Just as I reach that inner place of peace and assurance, something rocks my boat, feelings take over and I capsize all over again. January has been like that really.

I am reminded of commandos practising their assault courses. Time and time again, they go around in circles. Time after time they fail to 'climb the wall' and fall at the same obstacle. Yet each circuit, they are getting imperceptably day, they will sail over the wall...

Understanding what is going on helps, but the battle is still to be won. I am weak, which is fine by God. I don't think I'll ever be strong, but I do believe that one day, his Spirit (which is training me) will rise up within me & provide His inner strength to enable me to walk by the heart, in freedom.
Jesus battled this too. In Gethsemene, knowing what lay ahead, he fought the same fight, he wrestled with loneliness, betrayal, and the knowledge of the terrible ordeal ahead. He was in inner turmoil and anguish, but concluded 'not my will but yours be done..' His victory is our victory, as Paul concludes Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am grateful the God's love is here for me, whether I am living by His Spirit or lost in my feelings. It is not a case of success or failure, more a growing experience of walking by His spirit with a heart that is free, full of peace and ready to day ;-)
So I pick myself up & confess that one day I will say, with my God I can scale any wall.
Psalm 18:29

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ponderings from Life

New Year, New experiences

New Experience No. 1: Today I was woken rudely at 7am by the shrill ringing of the phone. Hubby was calling for help as his car had suddenly died and there was a room of eager students waiting for him at work so he couldn't be late. So I dragged on some clothes, wiped a flannel over my face, gulped some water down and drove to the rescue in my nice new car.

Eventually found him near a busy motorway, someone having kindly pushed the car up onto the grass verge (read lotsa mud). So he said 'thanks', we swapped keys and he drove off in my car and left me sitting in his in the rain on a busy roundabout in the dark with no power and nothing to do but wait for the breakdown truck.

Ah well. As it was, the breakdown truck arrived before I got too cold, but the mechanic couldn't fix it, so the tow bar came out. This was New Experience No. 2 (never been towed before). This led swiftly to New Experience No. 3 when we both got stuck in the mud which used to be a grassy verge. After much revving & rocking forwards & backwards with mud flying in all directions, and lots of blue smoke on his part we eventually backed out into a horrendously busy dual carriageway (my eyes were closed at theat point, 'cos no one was moving over for us). Then it was just a case of me trying to copy his steering & indicating motions (tricky, as one of his indicators was broken!) and following him. New Experience No.4 was the utter frustration of knowing the way, having given him directions and the postcode of the garage for his sat nav, being stuck behind him mirroring his movements, and knowing full well that he had taken a wrong turn and was heading the wrong way!! I'm almost busting a gut in wanting to communicate with him at this point...should I beep the horn? (- no - that's considered rather rude over here...)

Aside :  Do you think the Holy Spirit feels like that ever? God freely lets us drive the tow truck, doesn't He? He gives us the keys - free will - and the truck - life. We're the ones in control - He never forces His way...but with our consent he attaches himself to us and is right there with us. I was just imagining him watching my life at times saying (as I was) "uh oh buddy - you're never going to get to your destination that way!! You're going to have to turn around and backtrack at somepoint - sooner is better than later"...and yet He doesn't leave us, not unless we deliberatly dismantle the tow truck and go off without him. He doesn't interrupt us, though He must long for us to stop and listen. He just waits, letting us drive on, until we think of stopping and asking him for help...and then He doesn't yell at us, just sometimes corrects and always willingly gives us advice and direction and comfort if it's needed."

Well at some point the mechanic did stop and ask my advice and I gave him new directions (then promptly forgot to take the handbrake off - ooops!). We eventually made it to the garage....where the car decided to stop messing around & started first time for them!! In retrospect, they have no idea why, as, when they checked it over, they found that the alternator had exploded (vary rare occurence apparently)! Thankfully no other damage. The mechanic had been standing by the side of the road, spouting negative assessments. He was sure the cam belt had snapped, which would have bent the valves yada yada - in seconds he had totalled up a potential bill well into 4 figures. As he gleefully listed these, I politely told him to 'stop right there' and said 'let's wait and see what the garage says shall we?' After all, he had looked under the bonnet for barely a minute - really just checking the battery - so how would he know?

Aside: so typical of the 'the world', spurred on by the enemy always assuming the worst before any facts are known. It was actually quite easy to shut the guy up. 'Stop right there!' Perhaps I should take the same approach when negative lies are coming my way that I know I shouldn't listen to!

Meanwhile back home, friends are discussing the latest book to come off the Christian conveyor belt. It promises "that there is a Universal Healing Code that will heal any issue for anyone. In this book you will get that Universal Healing Code, which takes only 6 minutes to do. You will also get: The 7 secrets of life, health, and prosperity (DVD also available) The 10-second Instant Impact technique for defusing daily stress Access to The Heart Issues Finder"......and so on. Yeukityyeukyeukyeuk!!!!

I hate this stuff that is aimed at people who are desperately hurting. It pretends to care but doesn't think twice before wringing the $$ out of them...offering quick fixes with no substance.

To my mind the Key to the 'Universal Healing Code' is the man who made the Universe. He indeed will heal any issue for anyone. If we follow his way He will heal our hearts, but not in 6 minutes, more like in a lifetime. There are no 7 secrets to life, health and prosperity with him, but One Secret Place where all these things are found in abundant richness. There is no 10 second impact technique for diffusing stress, but there is instant Peace. There is no Access to the Heart Issues Finder, but if we give Him access, he will find our hearts, deal with the issues, and bring us to life. And this Key is free. No $$$$ required. The only cost is our wills, our hearts, our lives....really, I just need need to quietly kill off self, then He will Live in me, bringing Abundant Life with Him. There is no DVD to be watched, just life to be lived.

Hey Ho...Let's stick to the 1 in 3, 3 in 1 secret shall we? He who of course is not a 'secret' at all, though He is a mystery at times...