The Great Conductor

Live orchestral music has a majesty.  The conductor stands with his back to the audience, yet facing the orchestra.  He leads the way pulling together the individuals to make a collective beautiful sound.  Music that speaks to the heart.

Image result for orchestra

Now imagine the conductor is also the greatest composer.  That his music is the best the world has known.  That being invited into the orchestra is the greatest privilege for each musician.

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What a concert!

We are called to be part of that orchestra.  The name of the orchestra is Church.  The music is God’s calling, purpose and destiny for the Church.  The audience is the world.  The composer has some wonderful solo work as seen in creation and yet some of His greatest work is being played out before us right now.

But how is this Church a great orchestra?  Surely it often sounds like we are just tuning up?

Outside of the performance in quiet rooms behind closed doors the composer/conductor spends time with each musician, honing their skill and teaching them how to express their heart in the music.  When he brings them together their eyes are on Him, not the audience, and as they step into their identity, each playing their different instruments, expressing their heart, so the assembly comes together into a beautiful masterpiece.  The composer will at times bring out individuals for solos, or duets or specific arrangements, but all the time he pulls together everyone into a collective whole.  It is astounding, captivating and wonderful.  The orchestra is seen by the world and when that orchestra come together, keeping their eyes on the conductor/composer, then the world begins to see how wonderful He is.

There is such a great ALIGNMENT in the orchestra it is as though they are one.

His back is to the audience, but the audience wants to see His face.

Members of the audience start to say, can I join the orchestra?

The Receipt of God’s Love brings Healing

After a long day writing what God has put on my heart I sat on the tube ready to go home.  I realized that when I stopped work after a busy day I just had this sense of God’s love.  All I wanted to do was stop and rest in it, bathe in it even.  I felt this as I was leaving work but I wanted to be still and I could do that on the tube – with my noise cancelling headphones on – with no music – in the quiet.

Being still really allowed me just to soak in it.  It was beautiful.  It is beautiful – for it is still there as I write.  However, it is best experienced doing nothing – “Be still and know that I am God!”

As I sat there I just knew there was healing at work in my heart.  The anxiety I had been feeling was gone.  Sitting in the silence I also felt God’s peace at work within me and His pleasure in me.

It was then that the phrase came to me:

“The Receipt of God’s Love brings Healing.”

I recognised that given God’s love is a constant that somehow there had been something in me preventing that receipt.  It was like something blocking the flow of a river.

So I started asking what blocks the flow?

For most of us it is a lack of belief that can often be our biggest blockage.  Do we trust God for who He is.  It’s why worship is so important.  When I was writing on Giving and Receiving worth it was a series of thoughts born out of my feeling of low self-esteem this morning.  Tied into this was also a feeling of anxiety – worrying about what people who are important to me might think of me.  I went on to write that we need to start with worshiping God at these times.  In doing so, we are reminded of who He is and what He is like (His unconditional love) and that reaffirms our identity in Him as children of God.  That restored my self-worth – as I accepted it was not dependent on what I did and was not diminished by my failures but was rather dependent on what Christ has done for me and my adoption into God’s family.

Quite simply, this restored my belief that I am loved!

In addition receiving and accepting His forgiveness meant that I could sit and receive His love with a clear conscience.

For more see:

Engraved on His hands

and

Giving and Receiving Worth

This went on with thoughts about honour as well as love.  When we honour someone we recognise and value them for who they are.  I recognised that we cannot seek honour from others but can only bestow it on someone else.  On God most importantly through worship.  When I reminded myself that I am a son of God – adopted in the family, I realized there was no greater honour for me.  To take that on I had to accept and receive the honour that God has given me.

There’s no taking love and honour

I also wanted to dig in to how I can share what I write more effectively – looking to Jesus’ own example.  This lead to these posts:

A Continuous Walk with God

Expert map readers and guides

and finally, see the comment on the last post.

In that comment it was like one of those “light bulb”moments.  Where the answer of what I was looking for is so simple.  It is a simple answer but it will take a life time to put in into practice.

Having found this new treasure I felt God’s pleasure for both putting the effort in to dig deeper (being hungry and thirsty for righteousness) and also in the finding of an answer I can now take away and apply.

So, as I write this I realize I have been blessed today having been healed of the anxiety and low self-esteem I felt in the morning (through worship and reminding myself of God’s truth) and also in knowing God’s pleasure in finding a new piece of treasure I can build upon.

Will

 

A Continuous Walk with God

So many thoughts this morning …..

This is not the first, but perhaps it needs to come before the others.

In one of my posts I will talk about the help of a councilor.  It’s not an area I know much about, but is one I respect.  However, my thoughts are rooted in this:

I desire to share what God is giving me.  BUT I am finding that not everyone can cope or engage with all the words I write!  People communicate in different ways.  Less is so often more!

So, I desire to find different ways that will help people with their journey the same way I have been helped with mine.  As ever, there is no better way to find the answer than to look at Jesus.  How did He share the truth He had?  When I look at Jesus and what He said in his preaching and teaching along with His response to others, I see a man who very rarely gives a direct answer.  A man that shifts the conversation so that it speaks into what a person needs to hear. Not only that but His answers then invite the listener to dig for more.

So how do I learn to do that?

The answer is so simple that it makes you wonder why it seems so complicated or evasive.

It is this:

Take up the invitation to follow Jesus – daily.

Learn to walk with Jesus in the same way that the disciples did.  See what He does.  Listen to His words and teaching. Take up the invitation to serve as He directs.

I realized this morning that the disciples, from the moment of their first invitation, were never without the close company and leadership of Jesus (in and through the Holy Spirit) except for two occasions.  On both occasions they had to wait.  Consider this:

They are called.  They follow Jesus for 3 years learning who He is, following His lead, taking on His teaching and listening to His promises.

Jesus is crucified.  The disciples’ world is torn apart.  For two days they are paralyzed in fear and despair.  They can do nothing.  But although they don’t know it, they are waiting …..

Jesus is resurrected.  His relationship with the disciples is re-established – as though on steroids.  The impossible has happened and both His past and current teaching takes on a whole new level of meaning.

Jesus ascends to Heaven.  Before He goes He tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father – they are to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  They obey – they do seem to get it absolutely right this time.  But they don’t do anything except choose someone to replace Judas and then they wait – as instructed.  They are not trying to spread the Gospel, preach, teach or heal people.  They simply wait.  The point being that they could do nothing without this baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The same is true for us.

Consider this though.  They knew Jesus.  Jesus had said that He and the Father are one.  In the same way the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son. Given this – they recognize Him when He comes!  They know His voice – as they have been so close to Jesus in those 3 years.  Consider this as well – when Jesus said that whenever 2 or 3 meet in His name then He would be present what did He mean?  I believe it means that the presence of Jesus and the Father is somehow found in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I can’t explain it – and I am quite happy with that.  I simple believe it because my experience bares it out.

We need to get to know the true nature of God.  We can do that through studying the scriptures, receiving teaching and reading books, but only so much.  The disciples got to know Jesus through what they did together.  His continual challenging and stretching not only changed who they were but also revealed who He was (is) and His heart for them.

The disciples would have been confused and lost when Jesus ascended to Heaven.  They knew they could do nothing without Him and yet Jesus had given them a great commission, to go out into the world and make disciples of every nation.  How on earth could they do that without Jesus?

However, when the Holy Spirit came in power they did not think, they simply acted.  They were compelled to go out into the street, spoke in various tongues and even seemed drunk to some.  What’s more they were used powerfully and 3000 people were added to the church that day.  From that day on they knew that they could walk day by day close to the Holy Spirit in the same way they had with Jesus for those special 3 years.  They realized that they were not alone and would never be alone from that day forward.  The teacher was present in every moment of every thing they did.  The teacher was still acting and then sending them to act empowered by Himself.

I recognize that I need to do the same.  The same invitation is there for me.  The same invitation is there for you.  We just have to take it up.  When we do then we will learn from the best, the Master Himself.

He is the one who will teach me how best to share what He gives me.

I too want to have a continuous walk with God in the same way the disciples did all those years ago!

Engraved on His hands

A beautiful picture of God’s love in ODB today – which has so fit with some thoughts God has given me this morning (to be shown in a later post).

Is 49:14-18

Can a mother forget her baby?

v16 – See, I have engraved you on the palms on my hands!  Wow!

Add to that the insight on how God remembers us!

Engraved on His Hands

A Journey and a Treasure Chest

The purpose of the site is to record my own journey of discovery and to act as a treasure chest.  As a result some entries will be a lot more developed than others.  However, the less developed entries are important because I need to record what the Lord gives me at the time so I can dig deeper later.

Think of the more developed entries as my own polished treasures and the less developed as unpolished or even buried treasure (see article below).
My intent is to make the site more accessible to others shaping it accordingly.  However this is a journey and therefore there could be many twists and turns.  I will be inviting people to join me on the journey working towards the same destination whilst increasing and polishing treasures in our own treasure chests – and sharing them with each other.  Given that the site focuses on love revelation (God revelation) – it will be a record of what has been revealed (polished treasure) whilst acknowledging there is yet more to be revealed (buried or unpolished treasure).  There is also sharing in the purpose of the site which is to see more of the revolution that comes as a result of the revelation.  The changes that result – or put another way to seek first and see more of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Will
http://thoughtsfromastranger.org/2018/03/26/treasure/

Good news follows bad news

The Gospel can only be properly understood as good news when we understand just how terrible the bad news of separation from God is.  It is not about who goes to heaven or hell.  It is about the reality of reconciliation with God made possible through Jesus Christ.

It’s not about you ….

In the last week I was reminded of the first sentence I read on day 1 of the The Purpose Driven Life.  It says, “It’s not about you.”  It then goes on to explain the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, peace of mind or happiness.

My problem is that I only remembered the first sentence, “It’s not about you.”  As though I was an after-thought and didn’t really matter.  I know that is not what the author intended but it is often how we can be deceived – which is why we need to work at getting God’s truth into our lives and discarding the lies of the enemy.  Anyway, when I thought of that sentence this is what came to me …..

It’s not about you …..

But actually it is, or rather it’s not just about you and it’s not just about God.  It starts and ends with God (He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end) but there is a heroic, romantic story in between and you are one of the main characters because you are made for a special purpose, loved and cherished, but you get lost, you stumble and fall, turn your back on your creator who then responds by doing all He can, even sacrificing Himself, to restore you to Himself and the original purpose you were made for.

But it does start and end with God and that’s important because whilst understanding our roots and our true identity is a firm foundation, it’s also important that we know the end of the journey is secure.  That we can trust God to keep His promises and that everything will be made right in the end.

You are important.  You are dearly loved and cherished.

Having said that it’s not just about you (or us), once our hearts have been captivated by God then our focus naturally turns to that which we love the most.  Our lives, our purpose, are then worked out in the context of wanting to know God more, to have a greater revelation of Him, and the importance of letting others know the truth of what God is really like.

In the Last Days

Today’s ODB pointed me to:

Acts 2:14-21

The Insight section says:

Luke records the coming of the Holy Spirit in wonderfully descriptive language. For the disciples, the entire three years of walking with Jesus would have been astounding, but the last two months prior to the day of Pentecost would have been especially intense: the trial, the crucifixion, hiding in fear, the resurrection, the ascension. And it all led to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the proclamation of the gospel. Luke doesn’t record the reactions of the disciples, but imagine being in their sandals. As you are together with your closest friends, you hear the sound of wind—inside the house! What appears to be fire descends on you. Even with everything you have seen, the temptation to flinch would have been great. God’s presence was both terrifying and empowering. But it’s this fire that sparks the first gospel message, the message of salvation in Jesus.

J.R. Hudberg

Love Revelation: “I will pour out …..”.  The very act of prophesying will be to give revelation.

God’s identity: He is the ultimate authority and source of revelation (life).  He does what He says He will do, “I will …..”   He also a God of signs and wonders – demonstrating wonders in the heavens above and signs on earth.  There is a glorious day to come.

Our Identity: Note Peter’s identity – He has authority but he really wants people to engage (connect) – “Listen carefully.”  This is also preaching (not teaching).  For us: God’s Spirit will be poured out and it is expected that we will all prophesy – not some, all.  What do we expect?  What do we aspire to?  Finally, if we have called on the name of the Lord – then part of our identity is – saved!

Security and Authority – Peter is totally secure in what he says.  He has great confidence that clearly comes from the covering of the Holy Spirit.

Posture/Church – Clearly the covering of the Holy Spirit (resting on and working through us) is important.  We should seek to be a prophetic people.

For further exploration: What is the difference between preaching and teaching – I believe Peter is preaching here.

A Love Revelation Revolution

Love Revelation and Revolution – A Manifesto for Discipleship.

The more God reveals Himself to us, the more we see what love is.

Love changes everything.

The more we walk with Jesus in the trenches of life, the more we see His love in action and often recognize how far short our love falls at times.  In His mercy we can ask God to change our hearts and make us more like Him, more capable of loving when it is hard to do.

He then changes us, conforming us more and more to the image of his Son.

Do you desire to become more like the God we follow?  As disciples of Christ this is our calling.

Imagine a church full of people with an ever increasing desire to be more like Christ. One with intentional discipleship that aspires to represent Christ on earth as He really is.

A Christ-Like church so that the world will have the opportunity to see God as He really is.

We need:

  • A personal revelation of the true nature of God.  This will lead to a personal revolution as we gladly submit to His leading in the full knowledge that we are in safe hands with our destiny in His keeping.  A power exchange.
  • In our churches a corporate revelation of the true nature of God as we encourage one another more and more in our discipleship.  This will lead to a communal revolution as whole communities gladly submit to God trusting Him for our provision and doing what we can for one another.
  • In the world a revelation of God as both individuals and churches work out their faith demonstrating the true character God.  This will lead to wider communities and countries changing for the better as more people give their lives to Christ.

It’s a big vision.  But I believe it is our calling.  Lord, let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

May there be an increasing love revelation that leads to a love revolution.

The very purpose of the Discipleship Framework will be to better enable us and encourage one another to become more Christ-Like.  It will be a never ending task as we discover these is always more of God’s character and nature to aspire to.  With His help we will change and the glory will belong to Him.

Reading the Bible through a different set of lenses

As I build further on use of the categories I set out here I am beginning to realize how powerful they could be.  Yesterday (23rd Aug 2018) I realized that in my bible reading I could pull out different observations from a passage going through each category.  Not every category applied to a passage but at least one would.  I therefore propose to set out a framework for reading the bible based on these categories.  Furthermore, as I read more of the bible I should then be able to add more depth into these categories.

Identity – God

This has to be the most important because the way we think of God and his nature will determine everything else.

What does this passage say:

About the nature of God?  His character, attributes, personality etc.

Identity – Me / Us

This is of second most importance compared to what we think of God’s identity.  This is about developing an understanding of what the bible (or what God) says about our true identity – recognizing what we were as the “lost” and what we become in Christ.

What does this passage say:

About me?  Before being born again, now or in the future.

The experience of the people involved and how that relates to me?

The characteristics of the people involved and how that relates to me (good or bad)?

Security and Authority

I think this is really about belief.  Do we really believe what the Bible (or God Himself) says about God –  His true nature and plans.  Do we also really believe what the Bible says about us?  Are we a people of faith or fear?

What does this passage say:

About the faithfulness of God, His trustworthiness, passion, love etc?

About the faith or fear of the characters involved, who they listen to (give authority to) and how does that relate to me?

Posture

I think is about looking at the heart.

What does this passage say:

About the way Jesus walked and talked.  What is the fruit of that?

About the way the characters involved walked and talked.  What is the fruit?

How does this apply to me?

Purpose

What does this passage say:

About God’s purposes?

About the purpose of those involved?

About the purpose of those called to follow Jesus?

How does this apply to me?

The World

What does this passage say:

About the nature of the world?

About being in the world?

Church

What does this passage say:

About who/what the church is?

The purpose of the church?

The calling of the church?