Tag Archives: Christ

Prayer – Is God unjust?

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scalesWe are about to reach the end of our journey into prayer, with our final lesson again emphasising the necessity to overcome the lies and find a true perspective on God’s character.

Our third text begins in the same teaching style when Jesus begins by exposing the erroneous, sinful view of God. Luke 18: 1-8 is a story designed to encourage prayer.

” Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. “

What makes the majority of people give up on prayer ?

The idea that God is uncaring, unjust and harsh !

Many people have an unhealthy fear of God, seeing Him as an unfair judge. This paralyses their prayer and makes them give up easily. Jesus exposes this wrong view in his opening lines describing this awful man.

” In a certain town “ – he might even have said  ” In a certain mind-set ! “

” ..there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. “

Again this definition exposes the hidden lies that have wounded our perception of God. It couldn’t be further from the truth of a generous loving God who so cared for the world that He sent His one and only Son to suffer and die on a cross.

The ultimate caring !

A widow’s prayer request is also mentioned.

” Grant me justice against my adversary. “

Her plea is the universal cry for justice which has risen from broken, bereaved hearts since the earliest ages. Literally she is saying  ” Give me justice against anti-justice. ”  As well as being the voice of humanity she is also the voice of a Church, perhaps not yet fully understanding her inheritance as a Bride, yet interceding for justice against the great adversary Satan.

Sometimes, in reading this story, it seems that the judge is more of a problem than the widow’s adversary. Sadly, many people in the world seem to spend more time blaming God for injustice and adversity than blaming their true adversary Satan. True evil hides behind perverted perceptions of God. Harsh-judge

Our ” judge God “ here is just as refusing as ” our asleep God “ in the last story.

” For some time he refused “

Refusing justice ! Unthinkable ! Even old Abraham knew better than that when he ” persisted “ in prayer to raise himself up to the level of God’s justice when he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah.

” Will not the Judge of all the earth do right ? “    Genesis 18 :25

Again, the whole passion of Christ is a potent statement to God’s utter lack of procrastination in bringing justice to the world.

So are we to vainly pray for justice like some poor widow woman. Is prayer just  about giving God a headache until he gives in ! Are we meant to simply wear God out with our superstitious mumblings and good works ! I remember hearing a famous preacher once say that many religious people he met seemed to be ” nicer than God ! “ Is our attendance at Church, added to our cultural morality, myriad masses and prayer chains designed to wear down God’s resistance until he finally gives in and answers !

” Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t  eventually wear me out with her coming ! “

Surely we can do better than this ! Jesus’ whole aim here is to expose our wrong legalistic perceptions and spur us on to faith. If an evil father can give food to his kids, and if an uncaring judge can finally give in, how much more, does God want to answer !

” Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night ? Will he keep putting them off ? “

It is at this point that you have to think back to the pantomimes you saw at school… ” Oh yes it is!…Oh no it isn’t “. You get the idea?  The crowds around Jesus would be bursting to answer. ” No ! No !…Our loving God will not keep putting us  off ! Even if the Romans are here, bringing injustice with every step, we know that Yahweh is not an unjust judge. “ And Jesus, having got them to a point of faith continues:

” I tell you, he will see that they get justice – big cheer from the crowd !, and quickly – even bigger cheer from the crowd !”

And then he delivers us our ultimate, deeply challenging punch line:

” However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth ?  “

lambWill he find hearts freed from fear and unbelief, hearts which trust a loving Father who gives good gifts to those that ask. Will he find the faith that pushes through the apparent failures, lacks and contradictions of life, a faith that takes hold of Yahweh Jireh, God the Provider. Will he indeed find his chosen ones crying out in intercession, day and night, in full faith that their prayers for justice in the nations are being met and that deliverance is as quick and as sure as the rising dawn.

In reading these words and parables, the Holy spirit may have exposed deep wounds and lies that have distorted God’s generous beauty to your eyes. Allow these same words to gently encourage and heal and bring a fresh power and perspective on prayer and its certain answer !

Look to the cross, look to the heart of Christ and find total care, total Fatherhood,  total commitment, total grace, total intimacy, total action and total love !

Oh yes he is…..!

Prayer – Wisdom protects the promise

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bouncersAfter last week’s post we need to call in the second bouncer who protects the powerful promise of prayer for those in the 41414 club!

How do you build up prayer power? Jude gives us a possible option.

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 1:20

But what is praying in the Holy Spirit for you? Is it being zapped by some charismatic gift from heaven? Is it praying from the Spirit inspired Scriptures or praying with holy,  sanctified character? While you’re deciding on an answer, here’s another question!

How did Solomon pray?

One day he had an amazing encounter with God who invited him to join the 41414 club.

“That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 2 Chronicles 1:7

What would you ask for? What do you want?

To coin a once popular phrase from Harry Enfield, you might ask for “Loadsamoney.” Number two on the list might be fame, and then a healthy long life, and protection from enemies. You could no doubt find various forms of such prayer aspirations on most pages of the glossy “How to be happy” Christian magazines, and their self-centred echo resonates in even the most orthodox prayer meetings.loadsamoney

We must stop putting the cart before the horses! Take five minutes to tame the fleshly prayers and listen to Solomon’s answer.

 “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” v.10

Like Solomon, we need to constantly call in Wisdom to our prayer lives.

Someone, disappointed, may then ask: “Does that mean I can’t ask for all the other stuff?” On the contrary, God is generous and loving, wanting to shower you with intelligent blessings. Once the wisdom is in place we are safe to receive the measure of “Shalom” appropriate for our growth and personal situation. Wisdom adds, like sonship, the necessary component of discipleship. The promise says “Yes.”

 “…therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” v.12

Practical James also sees the ongoing character building qualities of heavenly wisdom.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

So ask for wisdom:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

True wisdom is not simply “clever thoughts”, wisdom is a person. Wisdom shared the creative process with God and is always a source of inspiration and joy. Wisdom was born of Mary in a stable. Solomon used his lifelong revelation of wisdom to write Proverbs. The eighth proverb is an ode to wisdom and well worth a meditative read in our quest to be wise.

“Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” v.30-31

Not many of us could claim to be wise in the harsh judging eyes of the world. However, as we have seen, the source of true wisdom goes beyond intellectual capacity to the ability to receive a living relationship. God is constantly calling us to a living relationship with Christ, the true wisdom from heaven.

“…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

God's wisdomGod confounds the world’s wisdom, by making wisdom a gift, a person, to be received by the weak and humble in grace.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God– that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” v.30

So, indeed, build yourself up in faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, praying for more intimacy with Christ, praying for wisdom.

 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

 

 

 

Awake, Come, Blow and Spread…

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“Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread abroad.”
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God is bringing a new intimacy to world mission. The “Song of Songs 4:14” gives us some deep prophetic insights into this. New winds are also blowing as the nations of the Global South rise to fulfil their God-given destiny and add their share of beauty to the bride who is making herself ready. Hear what Marv Newell, Executive Director of Cross Global Link, has to say.

“The greatest challenge today for leadership of traditional western missions is to navigate the transition from the historic paradigm of “from the West to the rest” into the not yet fully understood paradigm of “from anywhere to everywhere.” This transition is requiring that many consider new organizational structures, revision of policies in personnel and finance, and the morphing of an organizational culture from western to global.”

Let us overhear some of the longings of God’s heart in all this and enter into these four dynamic prayers.

“Awake!” – A cold wind of indifference has been blowing over “the North” for a long while now. Our passion sleeps as Christianity seems to be on the decline in the past fruitful cradles of Christendom. Yet all is not lost. We still have a wonderful heritage of so many heartfelt prayers and revivals rooted deeply into some of these lands. Just as a dead man came to life when he fell on Elisha’s bones – 2 Kings 13:21, so new life can come to our ancient northern lands if we can just realign with the deep-seated divine purpose. May a new wind of awakening blow over these lands, unblocking old wells and redeeming dreams.

Come“Come!” – The warm wind of the South is on its way. This wind represents the millions of  “11th hour workers” arising from the Global South nations. This generous wind will blow over the deserts of this world (Isaiah 43:19) turning them into living streams of water. The rugged old prophet Ezekiel, after talking to the bones in his desolate valley, was asked to prophecy to the four winds. He rose to his full passionate stature as he echoed the Lord’s own longing voice:

“Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”

Such a prayer released an army, and our own struggles, sufferings and deep groaning might also birth and encourage many more wind-blown armies.

But we also pray beyond the work. We pray into eternity where a divine purpose awaits fulfilment. A global bride and a glorified Christ sit down to reign for evermore. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  Revelation 22:17

“Blow!” – The synergy of the north and south winds blowing together will ignite the sweet fragrance of nations in unity. In 1 Chronicles 12 we can see a uniting of the diverse tribes of Israel around one goal.

“They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel.”

The passion of their purpose was greater than the challenges of their diversity.

May the Lord blow on us afresh, north and south, renewing our desire to see a greater king than David, our servant King Jesus, reigning over all the peoples of the earth.

“Spread your fragrance  abroad!” –  Perfume

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”  2 Corinthians 2:14-17

The world is waiting to smell us. Just as salt needs to retain its “saltiness”, so we need to retain our fragrance – the fragrance that comes from living a sacrificial life of intimacy with Jesus.

Are we “peddlars for profit” or “sincere sent ones?” Alas, the blight of a false “prosperity gospel”, which has profit and exploitation at its heart, is offering a fierce challenge in some of the emerging mission fields to the sincerity of the simple mission message.

Isaiah saw the Lord, heard his call and asked the Lord to send him. May we too engage with the longings of our Lord, enter into the glorious “Missio Dei” and, caught up in the wind of God, become men and women sent from Him.

 

Fat and perfumed…

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 “In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat.”  Isaiah 10:27

 “You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me.” Psalm 92:10

Lent simply emphasises the ever-present opportunity we have to pray together – feasting on God’s word and perfumed in intercession. Passport_to_Perfume_Logo%20(1)

The Lord is constantly questing to  take us into a deeper anointing. Like a car that comes in for an oil change, the Holy One is filling us with a fresh dynamic. We are maturing, throwing off the old yokes that have chafed, receiving healing, comfort, and looking forward to a new “Rehoboth” yoking to our Beloved.

King David also grew into the anointing. This “warrior/poet, lover/prophet” can model many aspects of our own history and future destiny in Christ. He was anointed three times in his life. With each fresh touch of God the anointing drew him into deeper conflict with the enemy. Higher levels…New devils!

We shall take a brief look at these times as they mirror principles that we are called to practice.

David annointed1. The “disciple” anointing of a young man – 1 Samuel 16 & 17

 We are all born in this anointing. We learn to love God’s Word and meditate on his precepts. We strive in prayer and are surprised by joy in intimacy and worship. We smooth our pebbles in the river of revelation and store them as vital weapons in our heart for the coming Kingdom conflicts. Getting up early – winning the blanket battle!, sacrificial giving and serving, praying around the maps – no place for the empty silence of “non-prayers!”, driving miles and trekking together to adventure and challenge. We face our Goliaths, the personal fears and temptations, the crucifying choices, and we get the victory which sets us free to Holiness. We must continue to live in this inheritance and pass it on to each new generation.

2. The “building” anointing of gathering a tribe – 2 Samuel 2

 At some point we need to have a track record of having actually built something. We are not just called to individual fulfillmentField of daggers but rather to the greater challenge of building a family, a team and a church. Any who have put their hands to the plough in this will know that it takes time and effort with many tears on the way. Whenever you look to join a few people together you will confront one of the greatest challenges of the enemy – the spirit of division. Brother against brother. Back stabbing, rejection, hurt and betrayal are all part of the enemy’s demonic cocktail designed to destroy the Body of Christ. We may risk falling in our very own “field of daggers – Helkath Hazzurim.” May God renew our determination and zeal to build. Faced with the challenge of post–modern Europe, and the vast unreached swathes of Asia where the most foul spirits of destruction have reigned unchallenged for years, let us commit ourselves afresh to the long haul of digging in and building brick by brick.

Many tribes3. The “Hebron – Community/Alliance” anointing of many tribes – 2 Samuel 5

It seems that the Lord may well be underlining this aspect of the anointing at this time of emerging missions in the Global South. The astonishing growth of the Church in the non-Western world leads us all to ask for a greater understanding of how to move on, shoulder to shoulder with our brothers, to proclaim Jesus as King of all the earth.

We cannot underestimate the battle and we will no doubt be entering many valleys of giants. However the Lord is with us in the conflict. He is longing to give us victory. We will know a fresh “breaking out” of supernatural power to overcome the enemy and see souls saved and built into church as we step forward in faith.

“As waters break out the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.”

 Many are longing to strengthen and develop strategic partnerships and alliances with indigenous church groupings and missions. Like David we will need to enquire much of the Lord to understand his unique, creative way of bringing the victory in each situation. However, one thing is sure. Many “armies” are beginning to march! We need to hear in faith the prophetic lead to such armies and march alongside or cheer them on.Giants

“As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean that the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine enemy.”

 The “balsam tree”- baw-kaw’, in Hebrew means the “weeping tree”, and, as we seriously come to terms with the real prospect of martyrdom and suffering that these armies will gloriously endure, our tears will surely flow with theirs.

I’m aware that there is only one true Holy Spirit anointing who glorifies Christ in our lives. However the Lord has given us in that “Christing” the call to be and make disciples, to build teams and churches, and to develop and partner with mission movements from many nations.

Christ’s own life knew the anointing at baptism which led him to the conflict in the desert; the “baptism of the cross” where he was pierced for our transgressions in his own “Helkath Hazzurim,” and the glorious day of Pentecost when His resurrection life was given to the Church and we have heard the sound of marching growing ever louder since that day.

Let us be encouraged and step into all that the Lord has on offer to our faith.

Be fat and perfumed in the anointing !

Friendship blessed my house…

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Random thoughts on JobJob by Blake

A miserable comforter or a friend? Job 16

Most people have had enough of “long-winded” preachers! It seems that, like Job’s friends, we can have a tendency to argue and “make fine speeches against” a whole host of issues without ever having really suffered in someone else’s shoes.

Our sad moralistic mumblings in the face of sensitive subjects can transform our ministry into that of a “miserable comforter!” Job, no doubt echoing the refrain of a more perfect sufferer, offers another remedy:

“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”

He is also predicting Paul’s words to the Corinthians centuries later:

“But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” 1 Corinthians 14:3

Wait a secSo…wait a SEC before speaking!

Ask yourself:  “Will these words Strengthen, will they Encourage, will they Comfort?”

Effective words are always carried on the wings of love and friendship. Job, like Jesus, earned “his wings” the hard way. No slick, superficial theory, just the blood and guts of tested integrity.

He knew warfare and hardship – “God has turned me over to evil men, and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.”

He was broken – “All was well with me but he shattered me.”

He bore deep wounds – “He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground.”

He knew repentance and tears – “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin, and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping…”

When Job opened his mouth, he didn’t just have an argument, a personal ambition or a theory, he had a tested testimony, a true spirit and a purified prayer.

“…my prayer is pure.” 

loyal-friend-major-2It is from this place of blazing, naked truth that Job points us once again to the person of Christ.

“O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!” (Jesus cried out “It is finished!”)

“Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.

“My intercessor is my friend, as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.”

Are you a miserable comforter or a friend?

The world hungers for genuine friendship. Less words, more pleading, less bluff, more bleeding!

Dare I admit that we may be “saying” too many wordy prayers in cold isolation – formal meetings where we never truly meet? Perhaps, true intercession is birthed in active friendship? Intercession needs a body. Intercession is friendship.

My Intercessor is my friend.

Friendship blessed my house! Job 29

Happy houseThis chapter shows God’s deep desire to bless his people. Meditate and proclaim these blessings over your own life.

Protection: “God watched over me…his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness!”

Intimacy: “God’s intimate friendship blessed my house…and my children were around me…”

Prosperity: “…my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”

Influence in the public place: “I went to the gate and took my seat in the public square…”

Health and renewal: “My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will remain fresh in me, the bow ever new in my hand.”

Pray for your “friends.” Job 42

Job, through his holding on to faith and integrity, gets a deeper insight into God and His unfathomable greatness.

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

Confronted with the immensity of creation and the mighty mystery of heavenly warfare, he humbly accepts the limitations of his own sphere of human existence:

“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

He abandons himself to God once more by burying his flawed flesh into the death of the “seen friend” to come.

“My ears had heard of you but know my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job rises from the ashes with a new-born authority to pray for those who had offended him.Chagall_60Bible_Job_Praying

“I will accept his prayer…”

He prays for his friends, he has become an intercessor, who, in the image of Christ,

“is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

Genuine prosperity comes from the journey into intercession.

I have many faithful friends who have tasted the dust and ashes of life and ministry. Hang on like Job, you’ll come out as gold! It’s not too late, a new beginning is just around the corner. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle of intercession, pray for your friends…

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”

 

 

 

 

What do you want me to do for you?

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 The good fairy waves her magic wand and gives you three wishes.

“I’d like a strawberry ice-cream please.” 

“I wish my nose was smaller.”

good-fairy Only one wish left and the world is still spinning on its tear-stained axis.

“Oh, let everyone in the world have strawberry ice-cream and small noses!”

 Well, with a bit more wit our hero could have asked for another million wishes… Or he could have turned to prayer and looked at the infinite power of promise associated with it in the Word of God.

But what on earth do you ask for? God’s promises far outweigh a fairy’s wand, but how do I handle the power, choice and responsibility that the promise of prayer gives me? Can I still have lots of strawberry ice cream or do I now pray for peace in the world at Christmas?

Let’s take a look at four people in the Bible to attempt to get an answer.

The blind beggar Bartimaeus, the devoted disciples James and John, and the glorious King Solomon. All of them had to handle a similar prayer promise.

 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout,”Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”    Mark 10:46-52

Batimaeus had no destination. He had no vision and simply begged an existence from what other people gave him. He eked out a passive life ofbartimeus crying to Jesus survival from yesterday’s stale crumbs. His asking – or rather begging, was all about getting through to another need filled day. He needed a new beginning, a fresh call from Jesus. He had the courage to cry out and repent. If you’re in your own stale, visionless rut ask Christ to have mercy on you, and get ready to jump up. “Ok, what do you want?” said Jesus. “Ain’t it obvious! I’m blind!” It was indeed obvious, but Jesus wanted him to take personal responsibility for his lack of vision and speak out his need in faith. Do you really want to see? Or are you secretly secure in visionless mediocrity? Bartimaeus found his sight and got back on the road. He discovered a desire to obey and found fresh momentum in following Jesus.

Going back a few verses we find James and John.

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45

jamesjohn1Here we have folks in the ministry praying for position and power. A lot of prayer energy goes into building the status of a church or mission rather than saving the lost! “You do not know what you are asking” may be the sure reply to many of our competition motivated prayers. A heady presumption stimulated by unhealthy ambition blinds us to the suffering and service which our prayers must inevitably own. This is the world’s way of praying and its fruits bring jealousy and division within the body of believers. Jesus immediately brings the remedy. Humble, sacrificial servant hood. Will we end up professional career missionaries staking our claim in the “Jesus market” or will we again surrender our rights in order to follow our servant King?

From a servant king to a reigning king. Let’s look at Solomon.

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  2 Chronicles 1:7

Solomon gets a great promise. Most knee jerk reaction responses to such a revelation would probably be found on any Christian television channel – and in most prayer meetings. Well, what would you ask for? Money…healing…victory…ice-cream?

“Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place.  Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth.  Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 2 Chronicles 1:9-10

 This is such an important request. Seek wisdom. The fear of the Lord, a quiet abiding in his Holy Presence, is such a beginning to the incarnation of wisdom in our lives. Jesus may well have been thinking about this event when he spoke to his disciples about prayer and provision in Matthew 6:29. We are blessed by the exhortation to seek first his kingdom. This kingdom rule has much to do with wisdom. Seek wisdom “and all these things will be given to you as well.”

 Solomon’s heart’s desire was for divine wisdom. More than just intellectual facts but a daily cleaving to incarnated wisdom that cries out in the wisesolomonstreets and fashions the earth. He desired the giver more than the gifts. This disciplined heart desire for wisdom released God’s pleasure and generosity over his life.

 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” 2 Chronicles 1:11-12

So here we have it. How do I handle the powerful “yes” of prayer?

  1. Channel it through eyes wide open to vision and purpose, sustained in living word and dynamic obedience – “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
  2. Root it in the reality of a heart committed to follow Jesus in humble sacrificial servanthood – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  3. Live it in a love relation with wisdom which listens and longs for divine revelation. Seeking first such wisdom will open the heart of heaven – “Since this is your heart’s desire…”

So, what do you want for Christmas?

Perspective – seeing beyond evil…

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 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”          2 Corinthians 4:17

 “Le mal se fait sans effort, naturellement, par fatalité; le bien est toujours le produit d’un art.” – “Evil is done naturally, without effort, it just happens; goodness is always a creative art.” – Baudelaire

looking for something little boyFollowing up from last weeks post on “Renewing Innocence”, we strive to find a measure of healing for our wound of suffering by considering the idea of “Perspective”.

Learning to look on life with the right perspective will strengthen our faith and increase our joy. It is easy to cut down a tree compared to the effort of many seasons to produce a strong trunk. A mother, after spending many long years nurturing and rearing a child, can see him lost in seconds to a madman’s bullet. The bullet is cheap and easy…the love worthy and costly.

Heaven is always found in the costly.

Effortless evil seems so powerful and influential in this present world. It hangs heavy in the air, polluting our hearts and minds. Death and suffering carry a status and authority which stamp a Satanic lie of fear onto even the bravest of hearts. Evil seems so real and tangible. Hell is the cheap give away, offered freely to man like a loaf of stale bread.

Christ invites us to a more costly banquet. He offers his own life to nourish us and speaks his true word. In truth, “troubles” are light and momentary. Compared to costly love, and life that has the quality of eternity, they are as nothing. In fact the difficulties themselves somehow work to unveil the coming of a glorious unseen, eternal reality. Have you learnt to fix your eyes on this reality?

At the end of the “The Great Divorce”, C.S. Lewis marvellously proclaims this mysterious truth. Hell always seems so big when you are in it.The Great Divorce

And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good. If all Hell’s miseries together entered the consciousness of even a little heavenly bird on a bough, they would be swallowed up without trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into that Great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule…”

The sufferings of this world will never veto heaven nor cast a stain on eternal glory.

Look beyond today’s trials and troubles and cast a glance into heaven.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”   Romans 8: 18-20

The monstrous power of evil, which tyrannizes the world, will come to nothing.

“Dost thou lie so low?  Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,  Shrunk to this little measure?”  Julius Caesar, 3:1, Shakespeare

Just think of this….

What incredible power evil would have if once you had wronged someone, you, the person you had wronged, and God would remain permanently marked by it!

Would there not in the eternal memory of wrongs suffered resound a hellish laughter of the seemingly defeated and yet strangely triumphant underworld, triumphant because it has succeeded in casting eternally its dark shadow over the world to come?

To be fully overcome, evildoing must be consigned to its proper place – nothingness. Non–remembrance does precisely that, as Kierkegaard insisted: “To forget”, he noted, “is to take back into nothing.”

karl_barthKarl Barth thought no differently: “To the past and to oblivion” is where God’s word consigns das Nichtige, that great destructive “something” that is most properly nothing. (Church Dogmatics 111/3 p.352)

So as Christmas dawns, let us embrace innocence afresh; as a New Year comes before us, let us consign whatever great “something” that has destroyed in 2012 to its proper place of insignificance compared to the glory that awaits to be revealed in us in 2013 and beyond. Renew my perspective Lord!

May the blood of Jesus cleanse and heal, and the Holy Spirit empower you…

I’ll leave you with a wonderful opportunity to “cast amnesia” and “forget about all that evil that they feed ya” from the “Black Eyed Peas.”