“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
The way we know we’ve been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together.
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.”
1 John 3:1-3, 14-15, 18-24 MSG
When no man on earth could understand
Your ways are higher
Your thoughts are wider
Love came like madness
It makes no sense but this is grace
I know You’re with me in this place
Still my heart
Let Your voice be all that I hear now
Fix my eyes on the things that I cannot see now
Faith makes a fool of what makes sense
Grace found my heart where logic ends
Walking by faith doesn’t make sense but we can be confident that God is with us in the Now. It is a challenge because our feet are in the Now and the temptation is to fix our eyes on the right now. When we do this, it’s easy to get discouraged or frustrated.
I’m not saying that we should be oblivious to the Now and irrationally day dream. What I am encouraging is that we look at God in our Now and not the challenges, disappointments and struggles.
We have to be aware of His presence in our present circumstance. It’s important that we are renewing our minds in the Now, engaging with His word and relying on His Holy Spirit. We must not stop seeking Him today. When we seek Him and meditate on who He is, we have the ability to road block anxiety, doubt, fear and worry – meaning that these emotions cannot set up camp in our Now.
God always give us grace and ease in the Now and it’s up to us to accept and receive this reality. We must give our hearts to God in the Now. Our natural tendency is to become apathetic, complain and entertain defeating thoughts from the Critic. But instead we must focus on embracing His reassurance in the Now and let Him lift our eyes to behold His majesty. In the Now, we should be dressed in the armour given to us by The Lord and taking up the garment of praise and leaving last season’s sackcloth behind.
We’ve got to look expectantly at what God has prepared for us and let His truth eradicate our restlessness – as His love casts out fear. It’s important that in the Now, we forget about what didn’t go according to plan but focus on making sure you walk humbly before the Designer so that His workmanship is displayed.
No matter what the Now looks like, we are always representing the Designer – He has a collection that He wants to present to the world and you are a crucial part of it.
Every model knows that when you’re on a catwalk you must focus on the end of the path and not be fixated on the audience. When you look at the audience allow yourself to be subjected to their posture eg the disinterested man on the front row or the woman who is whispering to her friend and pointing.
On this Walk, we must remember that we’ve received a personal revelation and confirmation from Him. The frustration comes when no one else can see what you see or feel the breath of the Holy Spirit. No one else can hear your heartbeat and breath quicken as you step out in faith one more time but the Father does. The Critic may say that God has abandoned you or that the dream won’t materialise but you look to the Father in the audience and let His smile reassure. He smiles because you are clothed in the righteousness of His Son; Immanuel, Jesus, The Anointed One.
As you walk in the Now, remember the hours spent in the studio as He gave you a new garland for your neck and told you over and over again that you are precious and chosen. Listen to the Counselor who reminds you that although your Now makes you feel worthless – you are worth more than all the silver and gold on this planet.
It’s time to declutter and to look into the mirror of His word, let the words wash over you and let your heart and mind soak in them.
The Designer knows what He is doing- even though it seems unconventional, He is a pioneer and always brings something new to the table. In every season He does exceedingly and abundantly more than we could, ask, think or imagine.
He is pleased to do a new thing – Now, let Him have His way.
Give Him the opportunity to display His glory and when the reporters will ask you for a statement you can say ‘no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can comprehend – what He has planned’.
Know all of this Here Now.
Lyrics from Here Now – Madness from HILLSONG UNITED album EMPIRES
I have lost all decorum and will admit with two brown emoti hands up that I’m tired but grateful for the fatigue.
I found that like Gomer I had placed myself on the selling block. Desperate for approval & validation from my brothers and sisters in Christ, I was selling my gifts, my talents, my personality and my charisma.
“Whose the highest bidder?”
My actions rarely betrayed me but the words I would utter out of exasperation, always did.
I bought the world and sold my heart
I’ve encountered many heartbreaks and I’m healing from many wounds as a result of rejection, disappointment leaving behind tell tell signs of discouragement, anger and bitterness.
You traded heaven to have me again
But it’s ok because Jesus died for the self-righteous, the heartbroken and the over-worked.
“Come to Me, all who are tired and heavy laden…
Mary, you are anxious about many things.”
I found my life when I laid it down
So I handed over my expectations and my repetitive prayer list to Jesus, and I resolve to seek my Heavenly Father first and only ask that I come to know Him more as I allow Him access into the depths of my heart and as He heals me – the only thing I desire is to look more like Jesus.
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
I’m learning that I am closer to the Lord when I come to Him in prayer and talk to Him like the loving Father I never had. And now I must learn to let Him to comfort me, to guide me and to learn to trust in His goodness and faithfulness.
Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Surrender. No more fighting. No more trying to be little miss tough girl but dropping my defences to let my Defender, Stronghold and Refuge take over.
Come sweep me up in Your love again
His unfailing, everlasting, unshakable love.
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever
song lyrics are from Hillsong United’s new song Touch the Sky on their latest album EMPIRES
‘This is living now…You turn the night into, this life is worth living with You…see the sun now burning through the clouds, black and white turn to colours all around. All is new in the Saviour I am found. This is living now’
I love these lyrics from a new praise song at church.
This is living now. My new hashtag for this summer alongside #TURNITUP the title of this year’s summer retreat from the young adults at my church.
The summer has kicked off with a few hangouts in sun. My inner Pharisee would love to stay cooped up indoors for the next couple of weeks and make hissing noises as I scroll through my social media accounts and watch others enjoy the British sunshine but God has other plans for my summer.
Whilst reading today’s devotional I could identify with the questions that God posed to the writer;
Where does your defining worth come from? What in your life truly makes you “good enough”?
A few months ago, God showed me that I wasn’t resting in His grace. . I had defined my relationship with Him by a set of tick boxes and predictably.
My worth was tainted. My worth was hinged on my multiple Sunday service attendance, the number of volunteer meetings I attended,the number of sermon podcasts I had listened to and how ‘modestly’ I was dressed.
God was not happy. At all.
Our work is good, a gift from God. Routine is needed and helpful. But without a strong faith in the work of Christ, we will never be able to truly enjoy the rest that God has for us. Deep, soul rest that speaks not only to the way we spend our seventh days, but the how we view ourselves every moment of every day
Earlier in the week I hit a mini rock bottom and emailed a friend saying something along the lines of ‘my soul faints within me’. She directed me to Hebrews 4.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV)
The only thing we should strive for is to rest in God. Rest in His security, acceptance, love and mercy. When our hearts are hardened and we think we know and can do it all, we aren’t far from disobedience.
When we rest in Him, through reading His word, He does all the work. His word is sharper than any two edged sword – it can get down to the marrow of any indecisive or fatigue- speaks wisdom and refreshes us. What I love about God’s word is it shows us the heart of others and when we pray His word, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. Hallelujah !
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)
We enjoy resting in God when our hope is secure in the fact that Jesus sympathises with us and unlike the religious teachers of His day, Jesus doesn’t look down on us or belittle us.
It’s the throne of grace where we find mercy and the strength in our time of need.
So sit back. Relax.