Posh houses or Presence?

14 08 2014

The people of Israel returned home from exile to find a desolated landscape. The reason they had been taken captive in the first place was their departure from Yahweh’s rule and presence in their lives. When Israel acknowledged and feared the Lord, and when her king was righteous, it went well with them. They prospered when they prioritised Yahweh’s presence.

So here’s the rub.
How is it going in your life? Are you prospering today? Or at least positioned today to prosper?
There is an order to our lives becoming what they can be. The prophet Haggai points it out to the people.
He says “whilst you are restoring and refining your houses, God’s presence is being ignored! His temple lies in ruins!”
I’m glad that God doesn’t primarily live in bricks and mortar any more. Through the new covenant that Jesus cut for us, He now resides in people.
But that residence needs proper attention and priority.

In the verse above, we see the Holy Spirit at work. He’s not healing, or making people fall on the floor or prophecy. He is stirring people’s spirits to work; to put self-interest aside, and re-establish the place of His presence in the land.

Today, how about us putting our interests, concerns and obsessions to one side?
How about what he wants you to do which will make him central in your life, and then work at the process to His glory?
We will find such pleasure in doing this. And, who knows, we may find that where we have tried and tried so hard for so little gain in life, that a shift of priority will open up God’s blessing over our lives in a new way.
I reckon we will prosper when we work at prioritising God’s presence in our lives.

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To be, or not to be? That really IS the question.

11 08 2014

“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach…”

Mark 3:14

I love reading books and articles about world-shapers; ground-breaking people in history (and contemporary people too) who have shaped and are shaping the way we think, how we live, the sort of world that we have inherited. I know, it could be quite demoralising to look at great men and women of history, and especially those in the Bible who did extraordinary things in this world. But if we avoid comparison, and if we can stay away from trying to find a blueprint for our lives in one individual (apart from Jesus!), then we can learn SO much that will help us from others’ lives. Virtually all started out in humble beginnings, anonymous people in their towns and villages.

The disciples are a case in point. What a mixed bunch! How on earth did they do part 2 of what Mark 3:14 says? Jesus DID send this motley crew out to preach, make disciples, cast out demons, heal, start churches, and establish God’s Kingdom in the earth. This blog is one of many of the results of one inspiring 12, who in turn tipped the world upside down!

The key to part 2? Part 1. He appointed these guys “that they might be with him.”

I spend time with my boys for three main reasons;
I love to be with them.
They love to be with me.
I want to mould their souls.
In fact, I have a responsibility to help mould their souls. It’s what a father does. Or should do. It’s discipleship at a fundamental level. Paul wrote to his Corinthian disciples, “imitate me as I imitate Christ”.

I might write more on fatherhood soon, but I want just to express today how important BEING is. When I am with my boys, I don’t have a specific agenda all the time. But I want to show them a life worth copying and impart truths to them along the way which hopefully they will not depart from. All that happens as we ARE (or “as we BE”, as my home county Devonians might say).

The blueprint to your life being fruitful, to doing something of eternal worth in this life does not first and foremost lie in your efforts. It’s not in doing.
Doing has to be a consequence of Being. Being with Jesus. For us today, that means taking intentional time to be alone with God, to listen, to invite him to speak to us, to meditate on His Word. And then to just be with him all the time, acknowledge His Presence by His Spirit throughout the day. Doing cannot help but flow when we Be.

To Be, or not to Be? That really is the question today. And every day.