Still brings tears ….
When those of us who have put our faith in Christ have died and resurrected I believe that although it will be the end of death and suffering and every tear will have been wiped away, that somehow we will still be scarred. Our bodies will be fully healed but there will remain scars of some sort – marks of past wounds. The exact representation of those past wounds I don’t know, but I do know that the risen Christ carried signs of his wounds in his resurrected body. Indeed, Thomas needed sight of those wounds to believe. However, Jesus did not limp or hobble when he appeared to the disciples. So Jesus was somehow scarred and yet fully healed. He had the marks of death and yet was fully alive.
In Isaiah it is written – by his wounds we are healed. I don’t claim to fully understand all the meaning hidden in those words. But I do know that as I have received a greater revelation of the love of God so my heart has been healed and His peace has taken up greater residence increasingly overcoming past and present fear and anxiety. I pray for even greater revelation of that love and choose to submit my heart that the peace of Christ will rule in full residence in my heart (Col 3:15).
The marks of death, nailed hands and feet, are there now on Jesus. In our future close fellowship with the Lord there will be a constant visible reminder of the depth and passion of His love.
I believe in the same way that somehow our acts of love for one another that have lead to suffering of some sort will be represented in some way in our bodies. Somehow, we too will be visibly scarred and yet fully healed.
These scars will be badges of honour. A record of the depth of our love.
Sitting in the presence of God
Feeling His touch upon my life
Breathing in the breathe of God
His Healing Hand upon my heart
Knowing His eyes watch over me
His compassion and love surround
The gentle whisper guides the way
“I am” is with me His very name continuous
The promise of abiding love
His footsteps go before me
His Spirit lives within me, resting on me
His strength stands behind me
Overwhelming grace carries me
His pleasure bringing joy to my heart
His face lit in Holiness and Glory
He calls me Beloved and draws me in
I know, I know, I know
I am with you in every step
I see the pain and I feel it too
Beloved, I weep as I see the damage done
My heart cries out, it won’t be long
My tears bring healing, refreshing water on each wound
My voice brings peace to calm the fear
I am the way, the truth and the life
Follow me to find your way
Listen to the words I say
Watch as my presence brings life
I speak creation bringing light to darkness,
Healing to suffering and Life to Death
I am the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End
There from the start with my finger prints on all that is good
Trust in me and know I will not stop until it is done
Rest in me
Rest my little one
Rest, Rest, Rest
Be still and KNOW that I am God
Be still …
My friend Lampa (not his real name) has for the last two years gone through a very difficult separation and divorce. In that time he has been forced out of the family home, falsely accused of child abuse and constantly vilified to the powers that be.
None of the false accusations have been proven (as expected) but the legal system does not easily allow you to prove these are false allegations or appeal against injustice – without great cost.
It’s not fair. It is not just. But it is what it is. It is part of a fallen world.
During this difficult time I have been able to walk alongside my friend encouraging him to trust God and also helping him avoid “emotional” or “gut” responses that could lead to trouble. It is this time that encouraged me to write this:
I have seen my friend’s character change – for the better. We have reflected on Psalm 23 and in particular “the valley of the shadow of death”. There have been times when my friend has felt he is deep in that valley. But God’s plans are far greater than ours and indeed I have seen that God has been preparing my friend for his calling. He is shifting course to become a prison minister. There are few people I know that are going to understand the suffering faced by those in prison but if anyone can it will be my friend Lampa.
Indeed, at different points God has given me these for my friend:
Anyway, today I was in court again with my friend. During his time in court I prayed:
This followed something he shared with me this morning. Yesterday, at a retreat set up by his college as part of his pastoral training he went over to speak with a first year student (a man in his 50s) who he had not met before. The man introduced himself. His first name is “Justice”. Lampa shared with him that he was due in court and that he could do with some justice. Justice suggested they pray. After pausing Justice said he had word from the Lord and shared Psalm 37. The words of the psalm so fitted with what Lampa needed to hear. Justice will now be seen to be done.
Justice has walked into Lampa’s life.
To explore from ODB on 3rd Sept.
Study deeper the link between comfort and suffering. Link to experience with Lampa
More insight on character-forming suffering from ODB.
From the passage:
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”
We too can take comfort that the Lord is our strength to help us endure suffering and will also use the most challenging of life’s journeys to deepen our fellowship with Christ.
God, sometimes my suffering seems too much to bear. Help me to trust You and continue to walk with You on this journey.
Verse 17 lists six things that constituted their major sources of food and clothing—figs, grapes, olives, fields, sheep, and cattle. In essence, Habakkuk is painting a picture of being starving and naked. He is suggesting that even at death’s door—without food or clothing (vv. 18–19)—we can still experience deep joy and trust in the Lord.
My prayer: Give me a heart that so yearns for God, to be close to Him, to know Him, to know the joy of the Lord, that I will be sustained through all trials and circumstance.
God’s identity: Habakkuk looks to a faithful God and knows (deep within) that the Lord is his strength and will empower him for the journey ahead.
An enemy, sin and the world: There is suffering in the world that is the result of man’s own choices.
Posture (Learning to walk a different way): Habakkuk’s example of trust in God and his choice to rejoice.
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.
Relational living. Positioning (posture) ourselves not just for love but actually growth in love. Overcoming fear through an increase in faith. Living lives with a new foundation that is our relationship with God. Then building and expanding (taking territory) the Kingdom of God in partnership with the Lord through the expression of love in our relationships with one another and those around us.
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.
- 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.
A timely reminder from ODB that speaks of:
His faithfulness – “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”
His generosity – “Take the Lord at His word. Do the very next thing He is asking you to do and you will see. He will give you grace to do the right thing and more: He will give you Himself—the only source of goodness—and with it, enduring happiness.”
“Happiness is doing things God’s way, a fact that can be verified every day. “Those who look to him are radiant,” writes David (v. 5). Just try it and you’ll see. That’s what he means when he says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good””
Click and see the Insight section for a great explanation of what is good.